NEWS

Online Bullying: Who Will Help Me, Victim Asks?

Ruksana Begum has been plead­ing for help from relevant authori­ties after being bullied on the social media app by a group of TikTokers for several weeks now. Ms Begum claimed that she had been bullied there by a former Fiji­an citizen who resides in Australia. She said the TikToker, a woman, had also included other Fijian Tik­Tokers who were also bullying Ms Begum and her daughter with vul­gar comments against them.
30 Jan 2022 14:00
Online Bullying: Who Will Help Me, Victim Asks?
Ruksana Begum who was bullied on social network outside the Human Rights commission office in Suva on January 28 2022, Photo- Leon Lord

A mother is left wondering which agency she needs seek help from, after being subjected to relentless bullying on entertainment platform TikTok.

Ruksana Begum has been plead­ing for help from relevant authori­ties after being bullied on the social media app by a group of TikTokers for several weeks now.

Ms Begum claimed that she had been bullied there by a former Fiji­an citizen who resides in Australia.

 

She said the TikToker, a woman, had also included other Fijian Tik­Tokers who were also bullying Ms Begum and her daughter with vul­gar comments against them.

“The woman was saying some­thing about the Prime Minister and one of my relatives asked her to refrain from doing that. This is when things took an ugly turn and the woman started to launch per­sonal attacks, which are vulgar,” she said.

“Those group of TikTokers also dragged my mother and my five-year-old daughter into their bully­ing,” she said.

 

Who can help?

Ms Begum claims that her plight has been ignored by the Online Safety Commission and Fiji Police Force’s Cyber Crime Unit.

She has been able to seek guid­ance from the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commis­sion.

“I had contacted the Online Safety Commission in November last year and my complaint was lodged over the phone due to COVID-19 restric­tions,” she said.

 

“After that I went to the Cyber Crime Unit for help and they told me they cannot do anything about it because it is on social media. I called the Online Safety Commis­sion again and they also told me that they cannot do anything about it because it is on social media and that my case has been closed.”

She claimed that a few weeks ago, she was informed by a few Police officers that the lady who was bul­lying her was in Fiji.

However, she was then allegedly directed to the Legal Aid Commis­sion after being questioned about her character.

 

“Instead of going to the Legal Aid, I came to Fiji Human Right Anti-Discrimination Commission and they helped me out. I have adopted my daughter and I am scared if these things can make me lose cus­tody,” she said.

“Sometimes I think I just need to go far from everyone and live alone. Once I was sitting alone at home and thought about hanging myself.

“Where do I go? Which door should I knock for help?”

 

Ms Begum is calling on the au­thorities to take action against the alleged perpetrators.

“I need justice and the woman who is abusing me should be stopped and taken to task for her bullying.” She said.

“She should be questioned by the authorities on why she is sitting in Australia and bullying people in Fiji.

 

TikTok is a platform to show tal­ent, promote cooking, education and devotion, but not to malign people’s character and talk about people’s personal lives.

“If people in Fiji cannot use Tik­Tok properly then it should be banned, otherwise people will go into depression and commit sui­cide, families will break and chil­dren will lose faith.

 

“I am calling on the authorities to step-up and at least warn people who are misusing TikTok.

“I have wasted so much money running around in going from one organisation to another for help.”

 

When the Fiji Sun attempted to contact the Online Safety Commis­sion regarding her complaint, the response received was that we had called the “wrong number”.

Queries sent to the Fiji Police Force remained unanswered by the time this story went to press.

 

Human Rights Commission helps:

Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Dis­crimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj said: “These attacks on social media rob people of their sense of dignity and constitutes an interdiction of the right to family and private life.

“Fiji has sufficient laws and ad­equately empowered institutions to contain these acts of vile debase­ment and attacks on individuals based on prohibited grounds of dis­crimination and in some instances posts that openly call for violence on the social media,” he said.

 

Mr Raj said Fijians deserved remedy and it was important that people who were being bullied, harassed and robbed of their sense of dignity were not made to run around.

“We cannot afford to turn people away by saying that nothing much can be done because it is on social media,” he said.

 

“The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission wel­comes Fijians who have experi­enced violence and discrimination on the social media to please come forward and report.

“The commission is liaising with the CID of the Fiji Police Force in relation to a number of these com­plaints,” Mr Raj said.

 

Feedback: sheenal.charan@fijisun.com.fj



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