Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Cyberbullying victim too scared to walk the street

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Jane says it got to a point where she was too scared to go to school or walk down the street. Photo / Thinkstock
Jane says it got to a point where she was too scared to go to school or walk down the street. Photo / Thinkstock

A Bay of Plenty teenager tried to harm herself after being severely cyberbullied.

The teen, who has since changed schools to escape those who tormented her, has spoken out about her experience as part of this week's NZME cyberbullying series.

"The first time I was cyberbullied, I am not even entirely sure why she did it, but it started and then it was constant. Going all over my Facebook page and commenting horrible things on all my posts," Jane* said.

It got to the point where I couldn't go to school anymore.
Jane, cyberbullying victim

"She was telling me I should go and jump off a bridge because no one wants me here. Trying to make me feel really bad about myself."

Jane and her bully were once good friends.

"I started becoming friends with her friends and I think maybe she didn't like that. It was quite full-on. One day I went onto my Facebook to see if I had any messages from family and there were all these notifications coming in from people about this post she had put up."

Jane blocked her from her Facebook page but the girl would make new pages in an attempt to attack her. She even phoned her house to threaten her, Jane said. "I told the school, but she had gone around telling people I was a liar. So they thought it was a lie."

There were times when Jane thought it had blown over and she would be left alone, but it always started up again a couple of months later.

Jane said it got to the point where she was too scared to go to school or walk down the street because of the comments which were being made about her online.

"It got to the point where I couldn't go to school anymore. I was so scared to walk around as so many people were going around and saying things about me, the things which she had posted all over her Facebook.

"It made me feel really horrible. After a while the things she said made me question myself. Were they actually true? After a while you start believing it. Even on the inside you know it's not true but you just start believing it."

That was when she tried to take her own life. "I took the complaint to the police because after her constantly telling me to go kill myself on Facebook, I started getting really depressed and went into hospital because I tried to do it."

Even after moving schools Jane suffers from anxiety and is too scared to go on Facebook often.

She sees the guidance counsellor at her new school and two sets of counsellors outside of school.

Jane said before the abuse started she was quite an outgoing person, she liked going out and having fun and having a laugh.

"After all of that I didn't want to talk to anyone, be around anyone. I just wanted to be myself and act like everything was okay. I am slowly getting stronger. Things at school are good. I'm doing the best I can.

"It's a horrible thing. In most cases, people who are doing it have had it done to them. Which doesn't help. They know that it hurts people, it hurts you, so don't do it. If you have a problem with someone go and see your school counsellor, or talk to the person in person."

*Not her real name

Where to get help:

• In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or talk@youthline.co.nz or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm) http://livechat.youthline.co.nz/mibew/chat?locale=en&style=youthline
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
• NetSafe: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723), www.theorb.org.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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