Doxxing is an act that involves the publishing of someone’s personal information with the intention to harass. The information could be photos, contact numbers, or employment details.
In April, doxxing was proposed to be criminalised under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).
In a blog post by the Dayre community, 19-year-old undergraduate Gia Lim shared a traumatic experience after getting doxxed three years ago.
Here's a summary of her ordeal, and how she got to the bottom of it eventually.
Lim wrote that she only found out about it after she saw her photos accompanied by denigrative and lewd captions on a Tumblr blog.
The photos were supposedly taken from her social media accounts, but they were photoshopped to look like she had bigger breasts.
Some photos even included her face photoshopped onto naked bodies.
According to the Dayre post, Lim's full name, school, tuition location, and even details such as her subject combination were circulated online.
As such, Lim started to receive messages from strangers online, and even had someone stalk her after tuition one day. She confronted the stalker, who claimed that he worked in the area.
The stalker ran off after Lim's father arrived.
After that incident, she decided to get to the bottom of things and find out who the perpetrator was.
"The incident was a wake-up call. Fear and paranoia were eating at me but no one could help, so I had to do something about it myself."
Tracing down the perpetrator
Lim discovered that the photos were submitted by Tumblr users, and managed to get the email address of the person who had submitted her photos.
She realised that the email address belonged to her primary school friend.
When she confronted that person, he appeared to be clueless about the incident. Lim also mentioned that it seemed impossible for the primary school friend to do such a thing, so she dismissed it as a decoy.
Meanwhile, she decided to confide in a close friend called C, whom she regarded as a big brother.
C was supportive and helpful during those times, and even accompanied her to make a police report.
However, according to Lim, she later found out that C was actually the perpetrator.
Lim wrote that during a FaceTime call with C, he also accidentally revealed that he had an entire folder of her pictures.
She later discovered that C had submitted over 60 doctored photos and "nudes" of her, claiming to others that she had sent those photos to him.
According to the Dayre post, C eventually admitted to being the person behind everything.
Even though C acceded to posting a public apology, he took it down from his blog after a day for fear of getting too much public attention on his wrongdoings.
The incident was an emotional turmoil for Lim and as such, her O-level results took a hit.
She reveals in the story,
"My O-level performance was compromised. I would turn up for a paper late because I was so caught up in investigating.
I was obsessively trying to search for answers. Instead of studying, I would be trawling the Internet, afraid that more of my pictures and information were out there.
I was constantly distracted because I would be thinking about what people were saying behind my back and if there were creeps following me.
I was not in the right frame of mind to focus on the exams. It was too much to cope for the 16-year-old me."
She was so stressed that her health was affected too.
"I couldn’t eat and only slept after crying. I vomited a couple of times due to anxiety and felt depressed."
She also had difficulties in sharing with her conservative parents about what happened to her.
"How do you even broach the subject? Was I supposed to simply go, Hey mum and dad, men keep sending me pictures of their dicks'"
Lim also avoided wearing skirts and sleeveless clothes for fear of others objectifying her again.
"I knew that I had done nothing wrong and yet, I was afraid and appalled by how others could take my reality and twist it. How some people could see me as merely an object to be utilized."
Raising awareness through her personal account
Thankfully, Lim had some genuine support from friends and family who provided support through the difficult period.
"To anyone going through what I did and who are trying to heal, I know that it can be discouraging to think that what you have to say may get ignored or that people might not believe you, but I encourage you to approach people whom you trust or go to a counsellor.
I know coming face-to-face with your emotions can be scary, so know that you can do so at your own pace, and when you’re comfortable. Take your time."
It was also her best friend who encouraged her to be brave, and to share her story.
You can read the full version of it on Dayre.
Lim also shared her story through a video, which was later picked up by AWARE:
Lim is also one of the founders of a non-profit youth organisation in Singapore metooSG, dedicated to raising awareness on issues of sexual harassment and assault.
If you face sexual assault or harassment, you can call AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre at 6779 0282 (Monday-Friday, 10am to 10pm) for legal advice, counselling and befriender support.
Top photo collage from giatouttahere Youtube and Dayre