A Collaboration Between the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center and the Sexual Assault Advisory Committee
Tina Reine, a victim of cyber harassment, shared her emotional story during the first-ever Internet Safety and Cyber Harassment Symposium at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Hosted by the staff from the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center (RTC), along with its Sexual Assault Advisory Committee (SAAC) members, the safety event brought together more than 40 attendees from the community to discuss the destructive effects that cyber sexual assault can have on a victim’s life.
Cyberbullying is the intentional use of the Internet and other social media to degrade, demean, or belittle another person who usually has less power than the perpetrator
The symposium consisted of guest speakers and interactive group discussions that were organized by RTC’s program manager, Franchine Daley.
“October was Cyber Awareness Month, and it is important to educate people that sexual assault also happens online,” said Daley. “Revenge porn and cyber harassment is sadly a reality for many survivors.”
It was the moving testimonial from Reine that captivated the audience. Following a bad breakup that ended a two-year relationship in 2012, Reine’s life hit its lowest point when her ex set out to damage her reputation at all costs. He reportedly created 14 websites and filled them with disparaging comments about her. She says he twisted truth with half-truths about her personal life and encouraged others to harass her by providing her contact details.
“These websites hurt my chance at a career in finance,” said Reine. “Companies I interviewed for would Google me, see all of this and then rescind job offers.”
It took five years for Reine to shut down the offending websites. It took just as long to get back on her feet as a working professional, and not feel vulnerable. She now helps other victims and serves as an advocate against cyberbullying.
“It felt empowering to share my story knowing it can bring understanding to what it’s like to be a victim of online harassment,” said Reine. “I was determined to gain my life back.”
In addition to hearing Reine share her experience on this national issue, attendees also heard presentations from various organizations including:
- Kristi House, operators of the Orlowitz-Lee Children’s Advocacy Center
- Homeland Security
- Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office
- Miami-Dade Police Department Cyber Crimes Division
- Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
Speakers discussed cyber harassment, cyber investigations and human trafficking, internet-crime case review, internet safety and legislative updates. Staff provided conference materials and RTC resources and information.
“Attendees provided us positive feedback about the event,” said Daley. “Tina’s testimonial was extremely moving and illustrated the debilitating and lasting effects of cyber harassment.”
Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center is certified by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV), a statewide nonprofit organization committed to victims and survivors of sexual violence and the sexual assault crisis programs that serve them. Over the years, more than 48,000 victims have received help at the RTC including victims of cyberbullying. The center provides emotional and medical support – in a completely confidential setting – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
RTC cares for victims of sexual assault, ages 12 and over. All services are provided free of charge for all victims, regardless of whether the crime is reported to police. If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault, or if you have questions or need help, call the confidential hotline at 305-585-RAPE (7273).