Online Abuse

How does it affect the victim?

Being a victim of online abuse can be a very difficult experience.

If someone ever uses the Internet and new technologies to hurt, threaten, harm or shame you, you may feel sad and insecure.

If you discover the offender is a friend, your feelings of sadness and disappointment can be even more intense and deepened by the feeling of betrayal and confusion. It is difficult to understand how a person you trusted is capable of hurting and harming you in that way.

You can also be a victim of online abuse by someone you do not know. In these cases the insecurity and uncertainty may be greater because you do not know who and why he/she is doing this to you.


Regardless of whether or not you know the offender, it is common for you to feel:

  • guilty and ashamed about what is happening;
  • afraid to tell someone about what is happening;
  • confused because you do not understand the offender’s reasons;
  • angry because someone is trying to hurt you in such a way;
  • alone because you feel that what is happening to you doesn’t happen to others and that no one will be able to help you;
  • anxious and insecure because you don’t know how to solve the situation;
  • afraid that the violence will continue or increase;
  • afraid that the offender, besides his/her ‘virtual’ violence, will also hurt you physically.
  • These (or others) emotional reactions are a natural response to an experience that can threaten our well-being and personal safety. These symptoms should lessen over time. If you realize that these feelings and thoughts continue, it is important to get some professional help.

    For advice on what to do if you are a victim of online abuse see Strategies to protect yourself.