Cyber Harassment Survivor’s Kit – STORIES OF SURVIVORS
How Cyber-Harassment Ruined My Life
In my second year of uni, I was the happiest I had ever been – I had the most amazing friends, and was pursuing my dream course at my first choice university in Penang. Perhaps what I loved the most about the whole affair was the breathing room I had since I was away from my conservative parents. They were alright at the time, but they could be a bit over-protective of their only daughter – although I did not realise just how much until it was just a bit too late.
I made the most of my freedom, and by then I was busily but contentedly juggling part-time work, volunteer work with NGOs, and my studies. I met my (now ex) boyfriend, J, a well-known activist who was a few years my senior, on Facebook. He took my side in an argument in the comments section of a contentious post, and I messaged him first. We hit it off and met for coffee in Georgetown, one thing led to another and we ended up seeing each other on a serious basis.
J had this magnetic charm to him – I would believe it if someone said he charmed his way into robbing a bank. Everyone loved him – he seemed to be on great terms with everyone up to and including the neighbourhood rojak man. J was active in the activism scene, and we did lots of campaigning and fundraising together, where I saw his charisma in action.
Our relationship was like something plucked out of a romance novel – we certainly had our dramatic moments. I forgot about my group of friends, and spent hours upon hours with J. He would always magically materialise with a bouquet of roses or some book of poetry he thought I should read, and never failed to be charming. We did have arguments, and on hindsight he was constantly lying and being secretive. He would never let me touch his phone or laptop, and he would always straight up lie about where he was and who he was with.
Once, he went down to Singapore but told me he went to KL. I found out, and we had a big argument about that. We argued a lot about things like that, but I think that incident in particular would sum up our relationship nicely to those not in the know. Looking back, I have no idea why I stayed with him and why I believed his half-baked excuses. I guess I was young, naive, and in love, and therefore in my mind, things couldn’t have been going better.
And then I got pregnant.
*Inspired by a real survivor’s account