Cyber bullying can be described as the use of cell phones, instant messaging, email or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten and intimidate someone. Back in the day, bullying used to be on the playgrounds of schools or in the case of high school in the dorms where the older boys used to pick on the form ones. However, with the advent of technology, bullying has gone digital whereby someone can bully you anonymously and from anywhere in the world. All one needs is access to communication technology.
Just like in other forms of violence, it is the women who bear the brunt. Individuals who feel anonymous hiding behind their phones and computers attack these women’s personality as well as their sexuality. A survey done by Ipsos Mori indicated that the women who are mainly targeted are those in public positions and media personalities. Due to their visibility, these women are exposed to millions of faceless people online who take advantage of digital anonymity to say anything.
Over the years, various women have fallen victim to cyber bullying. Here are some of them;
In May this year, Brenda Akinyi committed suicide by running onto oncoming traffic near the Kabete Police Station. This happened after an incident where her 3 year old daughter was defiled and members in the Facebook group started ridiculing and talking ill of her rather than consoling. Brenda had posted the story in the group to seek help after efforts to have the Police investigate the matter failed. Apparently members in the group thought that she was faking the whole issue. Unfortunately, at that time Brenda had depression and the ridicule served as the last straw leading her to take her own life.
Lynda is a radio presenter at Kiss Fm. Back in 2013 she was been a victim of cyber bullying by certain elements of #KOT due to weight in what is commonly referred to as fat shaming. However, she did not let any of that put her down and she strongly advocates for action to be taken against these cyber bullies.
Back in 2014, Adelle became a victim of cyber bullying when a social media user compared her to a monkey. However, rather than reacting in a negative manner as the perpetrators expected, the jovial radio presenter used the opportunity to encourage others who might be going through the same.
While some women have good support systems that can see them through cyber bullying, for some others like Brenda Akinyi it might just be the last nail on the coffin. Due to the anonymity afforded social media we often don’t think of the consequences of our actions yet with mere words you can completely destroy someone’s life. As men we need to take a stand against any form of violence against women cyberbullying included.