Durban - A Durban woman who is seeking legal advice after she was harassed on Facebook has created a fan page to help other victims of cyberbullying.
Within a week of her picture being posted on Facebook page “SA’s finest girls”, Claudia Crystal Naidoo, 21, received hundreds of derogatory comments, from mainly female users of the social networking site.
Naidoo, who does not know who posted her photo on to the page, said she first became aware of the page a week ago.
A friend told her about it and when she logged on, she was shocked at the comments posted below her picture.
“It is disgusting what some people are capable of commenting. And for most of the derogatory comments to come from women, it is shocking,” Naidoo said yesterday.
People called her a slut and others posted that she should not complain when she is raped.
On this Facebook page, which has since been removed and had 3 000 fans, Naidoo is shown in a revealing top, licking a lollipop. The 21-year-old said she felt she was victimised because she is Indian.
“There were other pictures on the page. Some very provocative with girls in their underwear, but I was targeted. People who said they were offended by my picture continued to comment on it.”
Despite Naidoo speaking out against the offending Facebook comments, the harassment continues.
“Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a girl who said she had seen me in the club. She said I claim to be victimised yet I’m drinking and having a good time. She called me a broke b****, looking for quick money.
I have kept all comments as evidence when I do decide to press charges,” she said.
The Protection of Harassment Act, which came into effect on April 27, allows victims of cyber harassment and bullying to apply for a protection order from the clerk of a court, which would then be issued to the alleged offender. If the person contravenes the order they would be found guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
Naidoo said the experience had shown her how important her rights are.
“Everybody has the right to dress however they want. I don’t see why people who don’t know anything about you can instantly form an opinion based on what you wear and attack you.”
Naidoo’s boyfriend, Randy Singh, 25, said he also came under attack on the fan page but “didn’t bother responding”.
“It’s sick that some women believe that victims of rape ask to be attacked because of what they wear. People need help. I will support my girlfriend until the end,” Singh said.
Since creating her page on Saturday, Naidoo has received more than 100 likes.
Her biography on her page reads: “Claudia Crystal Naidoo the young, strong and fearless woman that has caused a huge uproar on Facebook by standing up for her rights and freedom of expression and refused to be cyberbullied by society.”
Some still continue to criticise her: a female user commented on Naidoo’s war against cyberbullying; ”that’s great, but you could do it with clothes on then people would actually be inclined to take you seriously”.
Supporters called her an inspiration and said they were glad she was taking a stand.