I’ve been a victim of horrific bullying on Yik Yak, and it needs to stop
The President of FemSoc speaks out
Yik Yak may have been launched in 2013, but it only really started making its mark on Aber in the past year or so.
It’s always been a controversial app due to the sheer number of cyber-bullying cases that emerge from the platform. No one is safe from the hate on Yik Yak.
Emily, a second year and President of the Feminist Society, told us about her experiences with online hatred and YikYak in particular.
Hi Emily, tell us about the hate you have received?
Most of it stems from my involvement in the Feminist Society, of which I’m a co-founder and this year’s President. It’s obviously a political movement and therefore controversy will often surround it. As with any leader, my suitability for the role has been criticized though I am open to constructive criticism so I can improve the society.
However a lot of the hate is a lot more personal, with some posts forming gossip about my personality and my actions. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about myself on there – some of which were so out there I was impressed with their creativity and others were just simply hilarious! My personal favourite was ‘she’s a cunt but I still would’ – tempting to put that one on my gravestone!
How do you respond to it?
I used to have YikYak, back when it was less popular and I was less well-known, not being the President of Feminist Society. But in September, the posts about me began to increase as did the viciousness of them. Soon I found myself mentioned on there daily so I deleted the app.
This began to have a toll on my mental health and even affected my studies. I have anxiety and depression so this worsened my conditions – I felt as though the whole uni hated me, even though most of the people writing about me didn’t know me.
I began to feel paranoid and often on nights out, if someone said they knew me, I’d become immediately defensive about what their preconceived notions of me were. Luckily I’ve been told that the people who have met me after reading about me online have been pleasantly surprised with how not-dickish I am.
How could Yik Yak help prevent online bullying?
Honestly the concept of an anonymous platform just welcomes the possibility of cyber-bullying. Similar things happened with ask.fm when I was in school. But the problem with the internet is it is so difficult to regulate and writing anonymous hate is seemingly without consequences.
I do wish that the university, or the Student’s Union, would pay more attention to what is being said online as it has affected me and others I know. I don’t know what the resolution is but I do know that not enough is being done to protect people online or at least provide suitable care.
And a message to the trolls…
Come speak to me yourself! I highly doubt many of you have ever met me, otherwise you wouldn’t have this idea of me being some kind of ‘Hitler’ of Feminism. If you genuinely have problems with the way I lead FemSoc, I implore you to please speak to other committee members or get in touch via the Facebook page.
I’ve tried my best to juggle leading a society, earning decent grades and having a social life as well as not losing my damn mind so if I’ve slipped up, cut me some slack and let me know politely.
As for the rumours that have been created, I appreciate your interest in my life but I do suggest you do something better with your time. The things you say do affect people, more than you know.