Body positive activist, 19, who attempted suicide after being trolled online and receiving death threats reveals she’s blocked nearly 10,000 abusive accounts – and insists it’s got worse since the pandemic
- Phoebe Jameson was receiving 100 death threats a day from online trolls
- Teenager from Somerset says she gets nasty messages and comments every day
- Admits in December the abuse got so bad she attempted to take her own life
A body positive activist has told how she was driven to try to take her own life by online trolls – and has blocked nearly 10,000 abusive accounts.
Phoebe Jameson, from Somerset, who posts photos and inspiring messages under the handle @fatpheebs, claims she was receiving 100 death threats a day, and insists the pandemic has made it worse.
Speaking to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, the 19-year-old said she is plagued with vile messages and comments every single day.
‘This kept happening across the whole of 2020. It got to the point where from July, I have not had a week’s break from any online abuse,’ she explained.
Phoebe Jameson, from Somerset, who posts photos and inspiring messages under the handle @fatpheebs , claims she was receiving 100 death threats a day, and insists the pandemic has made the abuse worse
‘In these last couple of months, it’s been every single day, there will be something or some incident or some comment… I’d say at worst I was receiving 100 death threats a day online.’
In March, Phoebe shared a photo in a post to mark International Women’s Day, and claims a torrent of abuse followed including hundreds of negative comments about her appearance.
At the end of last year, Phoebe admitted it got to the point where the nasty comments and DMs made her feel like she ‘couldn’t be here anymore’, and she ended up in hospital.
Afterwards she posted about her suicide attempt, and was shocked when the ‘horrific’ abuse kept on coming, forcing her to take a break from social media for the Christmas and New Year period.
Phoebe told how she was driven to try to take her own life in December by online trolls – and has blocked nearly 10,000 abusive accounts
‘I’m not in that place now, but I can’t say I’m not going to be in that place again from trolling because, I didn’t think that would ever happen to me, I never thought it would reach that point,’ Phoebe said.
Phoebe reported the death threats she received to her local police, and they advised she log off from social media.
But while having a break was ‘nice’ and beneficial for her mental health in the short term, she said it isn’t a permanent solution because it’s a big part of her life and she doesn’t wish to ‘censor’ herself.
She also doesn’t want to miss out on the nice comments and messages from people within the body positive community who reach out to her.
Phoebe reported the death threats she received to her local police, and they advised she log off from social media
‘I tried to be a positive person for others and for my teenage self. I’m trying to be the woman that my teenage self never had,’ she told Newsbeat, adding that while it’s tough, she doesn’t feel it’s right that the trolls win.
Phoebe has decided not to pursue matters with the police but is keen for social media companies to make it more difficult for trolls who set up fake accounts to attack people.
Last year Glitch, a charity tackling online abuse, launched a nationwide survey to investigate the gendered impact of the pandemic on online spaces, and found almost half (46 per cent) of its 500 respondents have experienced online abuse since lockdown.
Additionaly, a third said the abuse is worse that it was before Covid. The majority of the abuse (84 per cent) was from strangers, with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram the main platforms used.
Phoebe previously revealed she was body shamed ‘unintentionally’ from the age of seven, when she and her classmates had to weigh themselves at school. She began to receive fatphobic comments when she was 12.
Phoebe has decided not to pursue matters with the police but is keen for social media companies to make it more difficult for trolls who set up fake accounts to attack people
‘I’ve always been bigger than everyone because I’m really tall, but this doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy,’ Phoebe told Women’s Republic.
‘I have PCOS and an underactive thyroid, which causes me to gain weight. You cannot see that by simply looking at me.’
Phoebe told how she has experienced fat calling, and recalled an incident when she was 15.
‘I was crying after an argument with my sister,’ she explained. ‘I walked away with my headphones in, and a middle-aged man came up to me and said, “I’d be crying too if I was that fat.”
‘My different mindset at 15 meant that it broke me. If that happened now, though, I would have fought it.’
Phoebe has since established The Speak Up Space, a safe space for people to discuss their experiences of sexual violence and harassment, and is working towards being a mental health worker.
For confidential support, log on to samaritans.org or call the Samaritans on 116123
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