A vast majority of online users have been subjected to cyber bullying at one point in time. Whether it’s name calling, or being the subject of slanderous abuse, this form of harassment is as insidious as any other. The punchline here is… cyber bullying does not discriminate.
Many celebrities and influencers alike have been at the receiving end of this virtual tirade. One example that hits close to home is Christabel Chua a.k.a. BellyWellyJelly, who was at the receiving end of multiple sexually explicit messages from anonymous accounts on social media. Angry and hate messages were even sent to those close to her; family, friends,and clients. The internet, which was the very one platform for her to spread happiness and joy, has now become the thing that brought her tremendous amounts of torment and pain.
She said, “I stand against cyber bullying and sexual harassment. And I certainly condemn the reckless sharing of private material in celebration of humiliation and amusement.”
She laments the lack of basic decency and blatant disregard for another’s privacy, in her words. But with the support of family and friends, she managed to pull through this ordeal.
For anyone who might have experienced something similar to this, there are a few takeaways we could all learn from the lessons of her incident. From a legal standpoint, victims can seek recourse from a few approaches; ranging from content removal, injunctions and criminal law remedies.
This approach entails the removal of content, either unauthorised or obscene, which has been uploaded without the subject’s consent. Given that priority would be to remove said content, victims could make a request towards a websites’ administrator for a takedown request.
After obtaining the hosts’ contact details and then lodging a complaint, the basis for this may revolve around copyright infringement if the subject owns the content. Other grounds may include the violation of general laws such as a breach of personal data protection rules, confidence or harassment.
While it is possible to settle this on a personal level, it is recommended that an experienced lawyer be engaged for this action.
Seek an injunction from the Courts if the publishers of said content are outrightly ignoring your takedown requests. Ensure that your injunctions are drafted meticulously as you would be nipping the problem in the bud by stopping a further spread of said content. Remember, a breach of an injunction brings about a custodial sentence.
Civil or Criminal Law Remedies
Depending on how intensely the complainant intends to pursue the matter, either option allows for the criminal prosecution to be carried out, each with their own steps and processes.
Explore these legal approaches in greater detail here.