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Cyberbullying and Harassment

Cyberbullying can range from continuous embarrassing or cruel online posts, online threats, harassment, or stalking through emails, SoupMail, websites, social networks, and text messages.

Cyber-harassment has become an issue because the Internet is fairly anonymous, which is appealing to bullies because their intimidation is difficult to trace. We want to ensure you that it is not tolerated on PoetrySoup. However, it is important to understand what you can do to minimize your chances of being harassed and what exactly is cyber-harassment.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Post only about others as you have them post about you. The Golden Rule applies online as well.
  • Don’t Respond, Just report. Avoid escalating the situation: Responding with hostility is likely to provoke a bully.  Depending on the circumstances, consider ignoring the issue. Often, bullies thrive on the reaction of their victims. 
  • Again, Do NOT Respond in Kind: Never respond in kind to the individual that's harassing you. Ask them kindly to stop. If they do not then...
  • Document, document, document, report: Keep a record of any online activity (emails, web pages, social media posts, etc.), including relevant dates and times. Take screenshots and email them to PoetrySoup! Keep both an electronic version and a printed copy. Save emails! Much information about the harasser can be gathered by email headers.
  • Again, document by taking screenshots: Before deleting or blocking a post from someone who is harassing you, take a screenshot of it and save it. PoetrySoup cannot take action without documentation. In extreme cases stalking, where you are being threatened physically on PoetrySoup, we will use our resources to help you tract down the stalker. However, we need proof.
  • Report them. According to one survey, more than half of all victims who are bullied online don’t report what’s going on, possibly because of shame or fear of retaliation. But remember, bullies thrive on secrecy. Speaking up can be the first step to ending the nightmare.
  • Determine your desired result: What do you want to have happen? You need to think about that. Be realistic. It's reasonable to expect that you can get the harasser to stop contacting you. It is reasonable to expect that you can increase your safety online and offline and that of your family. It is not realistic to expect an apology from the harasser or any kind of "payback" or revenge. If you want to file a lawsuit because of something the harasser said about you, find a lawyer who will take the suit, but realize that you'll probably have to pay a lot of legal costs and may not ever get any kind of satisfaction.

What Harassment and Cyberbullying is Not!

  • A person corrects a mistake on your poem
  • A person disagreeing with you during a discussion on a blog
  • A person being insensitive or rude

What is Cyber-Harassment?

It is the use of electronic communication to bully or stalk a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. It includes:

  • Continuous embarrassing or cruel online posts directed at an individual
  • Online threats and harassment directed at an individual
  • Stalking and intimidation through email, blogs, SoupMail, websites, social networks, and text messages.
  • Continuous abuse and anti-social behavior directed at an individual

Why do People Harass and Bully Others?

  • They themselves have been bullied.
  • They have poor role models. Many times bullies treat other people the way they see their family members treat others.
  • They act as if they are superior—and yet they’re insecure. People..."who bully have an air of superiority that is often a mask to cover up deep hurt and a feeling of inadequacy,” notes Barbara Coloroso in her book The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.

How PoetrySoup Can Help

If the harassment is on PoetrySoup, we can help. However, we need documented proof of the harassment. What can we do?

  • We can remove the offender's PoetrySoup Account.
  • In cases where a person is physically threatened and you do not know the person, we can help you track down the individual so that you can take legal action.
  • PoetrySoup will provide any documented assistance we have to help you in taking legal action.