No More Tears: Why I Refuse To Let A Cyberstalker Steal My Joy

For some, the nudging sounds of a phone’s notification bring a bit of joy. For me, the alerts leave me holding my breath.

Drawing of a colorful woman
Photo designed by BrownStyle Magazine

In the past, the sounds of notifications brought me a bit of joy. The attention-grabbing alerts on my phone served as the opportunity to interact, socialize, and connect with my family, friends, and supporters. Like many, I associated the buzzes and the dings as a delightful invitation to reconnect with those I loved. Sadly, those feelings drastically changed at the beginning of my adulthood.  

I’ve always prided myself with the ability to push past adversity with a smile on my face, but sometimes your burden can become far too heavy to bear. Words cannot begin to express the amount of trauma and harassment I’ve experienced in silence for the past few years. But today, I say enough is enough.

I have a secret that’s been plaguing me. I have a cyberstalker. Just typing that twelve-letter word brings chills to my bones, but sometimes you need to speak your truth to be set free. So here we go…

Speaking My Truth

For nearly a decade, I have experienced the horrifying trauma of cyberstalking and vicious online harassment by a woman who creates countless social media accounts to hurl hateful and threatening words to not only myself, but my family. What started off as subliminal messages has snowballed into a series of ferocious and unjustified attacks. What makes it even worse is that it’s a woman that I’ve never met.

Because this is currently a legal matter, I was advised to not go fully into details, but I can tell you that this woman has created over 10 social media accounts to threaten and spew hateful lies and threats. I thought if I blocked and ignored her, she’d go away. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

As a victim of both cyberstalking and threats of bodily harm, I cannot begin to tell you how terrifying it is to watch someone unravel and publicly unleash a devilish amount of hate towards you and your family. 

Digital Investigation reports around 13.5 million people in the United States experience stalking each year. 

As a naturally outgoing person, I would have never thought in a million years that I would find myself eclipsed with feelings of frustration, anxiety, and anger.

According to the Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center, this is not uncommon. Up to 46% of stalking victims live in fear, not knowing what will happen next. Cyberstalking victims often report experiencing some form of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology.

No More Tears, I Vow To Overcome

Due to this woman’s constant unhinged harassment, I’ve had to decline once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities. I’ve had to pass on invitations. I’ve had to seek an escort for every event and outing. I had to make all my social media accounts private. Ultimately, I’ve had to seek peace under the cloak of privacy. 

In all honesty, this launch almost didn’t happen. At the beginning of September, she took to the internet blazing with disgusting lies and hateful threats that have shaken me to the core with anger. Lies and threats were deliberately written from behind her computer screen to scare and intimidate me. 

In an effort to protect my peace, my team and I tossed around the idea of postponing the launch of BrownStyle Magazine. I told them, “NO.” 

This time she has gone too far! After deep meditation, I decided to push back. I choose to no longer be a victim. I vowed to no longer hold my breath. I promised myself to no longer be quiet about her harassment. 

This editor’s letter was supposed to be much different. It was supposed to shine the spotlight on how parting ways with my corporate job resulted in my mindset shift and ultimately helped me step into my soft life era (a.k.a. unlock my #SoulfulSoftLife). It seems as though life had other plans. 

If you are reading this and think you may be going through something similar, I hope this letter will inspire you to stop dimming your light. You deserve to shine bright. No one has the right to take your joy from you. Healing starts with speaking up.

My Advice To Help Others Who May Be In Need Of Support

When you are not experiencing this frustrating situation, it is easy to say what you would do. However, it’s a lot more complicated than blocking the person and ignoring them, and of course, you don’t want to sink to their level and start participating in the wrong. It takes safeguarding your mind, body, and soul. It means taking the proper precautions legally and maturely. 

While there isn’t a single federal law that forbids cyberstalking, there are laws that can be utilized to prosecute individuals who do it. It is a serious felony to stalk someone online, and doing so can have serious repercussions for the perpetrator.

The first step to making a difference is to seek support. You can contact the National Center for Victims of Crime at 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846) and they will help you take the necessary steps to protect you and your loved ones from your cyberstalker. 

Getting the help you need from family, friends, and experts will be crucial for maintaining your peace and mental stability. As you may guess, being the target of cyberstalking can be draining, so it’s important to remain composed so that you can resolve the situation logically. 

At BrownStyle, we are dedicated to giving WOC a place where they can feel heard, safe, and loved. This month, we will be covering how to stop cyberstalking and other types of harassment with the assistance of the remarkable published legal scholar, Star Kashman, J.D.

This Is For You

I dedicate this personal essay to all the victims of cyberbullying, harassment, and stalking. It is my sincere hope that your life will be normal again. And that you will see the rainbow after the storm. And finally that you will get back to business, and live in full bliss. 

To my “Internet Aunties” who always have my back, I want to sincerely thank you for rallying behind me during my transition from teenage fashion blogger to EIC of my own magazine. 

To my tribe of forward-thinkers, I will never forget the love and support you’ve shown not only to me but also to my family. 

To my parents, I couldn’t have done it without your love, dedication, guidance, and strength! 

To my sisters, you are my everything and the inspiration for everything I do. 

To my family, I love you all.

Tweety Elitou is not new to the publishing world. Nurtured by parents who are authors and publishers, the Philadelphia native began her career as a fashion writer at the age of 13. As the former Sr. Lifestyle Editor of BET, Tweety was a key player in expanding the audience and reshaping the lifestyle vertical on the brand’s website. After working for notable media brands, the editor took some time off to enjoy the peace and pleasure of self-care and soft living. It was during this period that BrownStyle Magazine was created.