We all know that online bullying is so not OK, but a whopping one in five young women have still experienced image based bullying on social media.
Image based bullying occurs when intimate or sexual photos or videos are shared online without consent in order to humiliate or shame the person pictured. And, in case you didn’t know, it’s actually illegal. The Supré Foundation has joined forces with national children’s charity, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation to take a firm stand against this disgusting practice.
This type of social media bullying is actually on the rise in Australia, with research showing that 76 per cent of Aussie youth who have experienced this did not report it and 33 per cent had their names shared alongside images without their consent.
This partnership between the Supré Foundation and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation aims to encourage young peeps to have conversations about consent with their friends and families before it’s too late.
Brianna Keys, 18, lost her close friend, Kate*, to suicide. Kate took her own life after being the victim of image based bullying. Here is Brianna’s story…
“When I was about 14, I lost one of my friends to suicide and behind the scenes, it had to do with image based violence and abuse. It all started when my friend Kate said she’d met someone online, which in this day and age is how you normally meet people, but the problem was that he started asking for images of her, which she sent him. He then decided to send these pictures out to his friends at the school he went to and then they eventually made their way to the kids at our school and it escalated from there.
Kate then didn’t feel comfortable coming to school anymore and she ended up eventually dropping out. She also lost a lot of friends, who left her alone and didn’t want to be a part of the situation. It escalated to the point where her mental health started to spiral which was especially hard at an age where girls are trying to discover their identity and instead she was being criticised and abused for something that she didn’t have control over.
It was hard losing her and I was quite frustrated with Kate in the beginning. I asked myself why didn’t she want to talk to me about it or why couldn’t she tell someone else about it? When everyone is already judging you for something out of your control, I guess it’s hard to feel like you have a safe enough space to talk to. But my advice for other girls is don’t be afraid to have that conversation. Or, if you’re ever in a situation like Kate’s, don’t be afraid to say no if you’re not comfortable. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and say ‘This isn’t something I’m interested in.’ If someone is asking you to do something that you’re not comfortable with, then they’re not the right person for you.
The connectivity of social media means that you take the bullying home with you. All young kids have access to social media now which is how they stay connected but it’s a double-edged sword; there are good things and bad things to it. Parents need to be more involved with their kids when it comes to social media and have discussions with them about what is allowed and what isn’t allowed on social media.”
For advice, to learn more or for support head to www.bullyingsonotok.com or instore at Supré to access information booklets compiled by the Supré Foundation and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.
*Name has been changed
If you, or someone you know needs help, speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day:
Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Lifeline on 13 11 14.