“A Harmless Comment Became My Most Agonising Encounter of Bullying” – Real Life Yarns
Ever since the premature demise of Afro sensation, Mohbad, and the global attention that was given to his unique case of bullying from his former record label, more and more people have begun to open up about their own experiences with this pressing issue that has rapidly become a social menace both in the online and offline space.
The subject of this week’s Real Life Yarns is a 30-year-old businesswoman and fashion stylist who talks about how an innocent comment she left on the page of a fashion influencer brought about a traumatising series of cyberbullying, threats, impersonation, and arson.
This is her story, as narrated to this author:
In 2021, I innocently dropped some style tips for a fashion creator in the comment section of an Instagram post she made. I understand that I would have DMed her, but it skipped my mind. I am a fashion stylist, so I understand colour shades that best suit different skin tones. I commented that the colour she wore didn’t quite compliment her skin and suggested another colour. Bam! She first called me a fat ugly pig who wasn’t worthy of giving her any advice. The next thing, she entered my DM and started raining insults on me, telling me that I would regret publicly embarrassing her. I was surprised because it wasn’t that deep and I added a compliment to my comment too. She also gave my handle to a bunch of her friends who started leaving demeaning and threatening messages for me. They kept reporting my page till it was deactivated. I thought it was a good thing because I would take time off social media, but they had copied my email address from my bio and continued where they stopped. They even created a fake account with my name, pictures and all, and were posting very misleading things as though I was the one saying them. They first started by reaching out to the people on my former page to follow me because my old account was deactivated at 15k. Then they got those people to repost for others to follow. When they had gotten a good number of followers, the malicious posts started. A post said that I had hooked up with almost all the married men in Lagos and stolen from them, and I didn’t regret any of my acts because they were cheaters. Another post said I was a paedophile. Another said I used kayamanta to make my husband marry me. The comments on these posts were so heartbreaking. I didn’t even know that this was what was going on until my friends called my attention to it. My shop also mysteriously burnt down one night, and I just knew that it was their doing because I usually posted my shop address on my page. I and my husband kept reporting to the police with the text evidence, but they said it wasn’t enough to bring them in. I became depressed and very paranoid. It was prayer and my husband that saved me during those times. My husband had to collect my phone to stop me from reading all the posts they were making. He and some of my friends even reported the page. It was just like a movie. I kept wondering how all these could be happening from a harmless comment. After a while, my husband’s brother found out about it and came to our house to ask what was going on. Fortunately, he knew an Inspector General whom he contacted immediately. The lady was finally apprehended by the police. After a lot of interrogation, she confessed that her plan to take revenge on me didn’t start from Instagram. She said she visited my shop a few months before and asked me to help her keep some clothes she found in my shop that she had been looking for for so long, but I told her that she had to make payments for that to happen. She said she didn’t have the means to pay then and begged and begged till I reluctantly agreed. She didn’t even drop her number. Then she came a week later and I had sold the items. I remembered the incident but didn’t recognise her from her Instagram post. I remembered that she was making trouble in my shop which attracted both my neighbours and a lot of passers-by. I even had to beg some guys to take her out of my shop because she kept calling me wicked at the top of her voice. That particular incident scared me because she was acting like someone possessed. She had a lot of makeup on all her posts, so I guess that is why I couldn’t recognise her. What’s more? She also confessed to paying some guys to burn my shop. We were only able to get 3 of her accomplices though. They spent between 6 to 9 months in the police cell, and she had to deactivate the fake account and pay me for damages. That incident traumatised me so much that I was scared of creating another account for over a year because I knew that the people who saw the posts on the fake account would troll me. I finally opened a new account early this year, and my first post was about clearing the air on the lies that were told about me. We have been growing slowly since then and regaining the money I lost when my business was burnt down.
Rosemary Kasiobi Nwadike
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