For the past year, the high profile divorce of Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West (now legally known as ‘Ye’) has been smacked across the front page of media outlets everywhere. Public interest in the relationship woes of celebrities is nothing new, however the unfolding dilemma in the Kimye scandal provides a harrowing insight into the cyber harassment often experienced by victims of abusive relationships.
In February 2021, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from her rapper husband, Kanye, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’. Since then, Ye has been criticised by fans for his recurring public humiliation of Kim via social media. The most recent situation occurred just weeks ago, when Ye shared screenshots of private text messages on Instagram and Twitter from both Kim and her new beau, comedian Pete Davidson. Ye used these messages to publicly insult his ex’s new boyfriend, calling on his fans to ‘SCREAM AT [THE LOSER]’ if they encountered Pete Davidson on the street.
Previously, in July 2020, Kanye publicly humiliated Kim by announcing at a political rally that the couple almost decided to abort the pregnancy of their first daughter, North. He has also gone on several social media rants in which he has accused Kim and her family of attempting to ‘control’ him, after they suggested he be admitted to a mental health facility to treat his diagnosed Bipolar Disorder.
Kanye later apologised for his actions, with some mental health experts suggesting that his irrational behaviour could have been the consequence of his mental health difficulties. Nevertheless, Ye’s repeated behaviour has sparked a worldwide conversation about domestic violence and online harassment post-relationship.
What is cyber harassment?
Domestic violence in relationships can take many forms, and involves a person abusing a certain power to intimidate and harm another person. This may include physical violence, sexual violence, emotional and psychological abuse, verbal abuse, stalking and harassment, social isolation, or financial abuse.
Cyber harassment in particular usually refers to nonconsensual online communication or conduct that is dedicated to torment an individual, generally a current or ex-partner. Digital abuse, like other forms of abuse, is an attempt to control a partner’s actions.
Abusive digital behaviour to look out for includes:
- Sharing photos or videos without your consent, or posting embarrassing, fake or intimate content online
- Constantly sending emails, social media messages or texts in a manner that makes you feel intimidated or scared
- Stealing your online passwords
- Sending threatening messages and spreading rumours about you online
- Harassing or bullying you on social media sites
- Incessant cyber stalking
How do I stop cyber harassment?
If you are a victim of cyber harassment, or concerned that you may become one, there are a number of precautions you can take to secure your safety.
- Blocking your ex-partner and their close friends/relatives on social media sites
- Keeping a low profile on social media and refraining from sharing the location of real-time content
- Updating the privacy settings on your devices
- Re-setting all of your online passwords and setting up an alternative email account
- Turning off the location on your phone and other devices
- Contacting the Police to seek an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) to be taken out against your ex
Any form of stalking or abuse is illegal. It is vital that you seek professional legal advice if you are experiencing online threats from an ex-partner. The compassionate team of family lawyers here at Berryman Partners have years of experience helping victims of domestic violence to break the cycle of abuse and formulate a strategic plan for their future.