March 12, 2014

A Bully In The Shadows

The following events of this blog post happened during 2007 and 2008. I was around 20 at the time, new to WoW, and I didn't have as strong of a mind as I do now. The character and real name of the person involved will not be used, and if they do happen to still follow me around the web and read this blog, just know... this isn't about you, because I don't care what you're doing these days; it's about me finally talking publicly about what happened.
Bullies suck!
It was 2007, and I started playing WoW with my boyfriend and his friends. I was also very active on Myspace at the time. My profile was private, and I only added people I knew personally or went to school with. One day I received a friend request from a guy - I shall refer to him as "S". I was good friends with his brother in school, and we had a ton of mutual friends, so I added him. Little did I know that would be a mistake that would cause me a lot of grief for almost an entire year.

I noticed in conversation with "S" that he was either was trolling, had a bad keyboard, or had something wrong with him. Things were always misspelled, sentences sounded like a 5 year old wrote them, or they just didn't make much sense. I was fine with talking over Myspace messages about video games and music, until he did something that made me feel uncomfortable. I had a DeviantArt account where I would post my photography, photo manipulations, and poetry. Instead of asking me first, he took a bunch of the pictures and poetry and posted it up on his Myspace making comments like "pretty lady" and "so beautiful". This made me feel extremely uneasy, so I asked him to please stop and take it down. It took my boyfriend stepping in for him to get serious and remove the things. That wasn't too bad, but it's what happened next that really made me feel sick.

He found out I was playing WoW through my Myspace page. I had screenshots of Velgana and some of those Warcraft signatures you could add to your profile. Well, he started playing too... same server, same race, same class. By this time, I had deleted him from my Myspace, so I had no contact with him anymore there. In WoW, he started following me to zones I was questing in and saying gross stuff like this in trade chat:

S: V, last night was so good. Why won't you talk to me anymore, I love you.
S: Love you V! Please talk to me! I'm sorry!
I kept him on my friends list so I could know if  and when he was following me.
He would follow me all over Outlands as I quested, just saying random and disgusting things in trade. He would never say my entire screen name, but would always refer to me as "V". I didn't want to block him because I wanted to know what he was saying. I had a folder of screenshots for the longest time, and to this day I don't know why I never petitioned a GM about it. In a way I guess it's my fault for not having it stop sooner. Anyway, I came back from work one day and logged online. I got a message from a random person, he was an Orc Warrior. He explained to me that he was in Orgrimmar that day and that "S" had given out my character name, my real name, and a link to my Myspace profile in trade chat. The warrior also said that people were reporting him for it and calling him out on it. Clearly nothing happened for it, because he still logged on everyday to bother me.

I joined a guild called Revelations after I hit 70. They were really nice and were helping people get keyed for Karazhan. "S" followed me to the guild. I messaged the GM about how he would follow me everywhere, and the GM said he could stay for now until he did something that would warrant him getting kicked out. Not long after I joined my first raiding guild, Requiem. He wasn't able to follow me because of the application process, and I made friends in there. He stopped saying a lot of stuff in trade, because I had many friends that threatened him. However, when I would go fishing in Azshara, he would follow me to the small island and sit at the top of the hill with me targeted... not saying anything. I'm guessing he had an addon that let him see where people on his friends list were at all times.
Strange that he was in a guild called The Stalkers. *shivers*
At work one day, "S" came in with his brother. My heart dropped into my stomach. Everyone knew who he was, and I didn't want him bothering me at work either. He just stared at me with this annoying smirk while he was in, but said nothing. He never came in again... I don't know if he just wanted to let me know that he knew where I worked or whatever. I still don't know what that was about. A few weeks later I got a text from a friend saying "Go to "S"'s profile on Myspace! He has a photo of you as his profile picture!". That was the last straw. I messaged him to take it off, I had enough, and he needed to leave me alone on Myspace and in WoW. It took me looking for the cyber stalking and cyber bullying laws in my state, sending them to him, and then he finally left me alone only because I threatened legal action.

I know I probably should have done something sooner, but I wasn't at all like I am now. I should have reported him to Myspace and to a WoW GM, and I would have saved myself a lot of stress. I deleted my DeviantArt, Photobucket, and main Myspace profile because of him. He uses the same screen names on most places, so I try to block him on any site that he may find me on. He still plays WoW to this day... still on my server, but he leaves me alone. He was labeled as a "bad" back in WotLK, and I guess tarnished his name.
Too bad I had him on block so I didn't know if he was responding in trade.
Online harassment is no laughing matter. If you or someone you know is being bullied in game or online, report it! If you don't, nothing will get done, and they could be doing it to someone else in the future!