Candace Cameron Bure said it. She said what many, if not all, targets feel: cyberbullying feels like rape.
Digging deeper, Karma of the Poodle describes mental rape in a Yahoo discussion board as: "... where you are raped of your common knowledge or knowledge of your current life and have it taken from you and replaced with someone else's information done out of fear and abuse without your consent and willing participation."
Mental rape is being raped by words and images, which is the quintessential behavior of a cyberbully. A person is psychologically traumatized and it is not uncommon for depression and post-traumatic stress to set in as a result.
When someone has their digital footprint vandalized and destroyed, they experience mental rape. There is no other way to more accurately define it.
So what do rape victims have to do in order to start the healing process? The very same things a victim of cyberbullying must do.
Pandora's Project offers some advice in this post: What do do if you have been raped.
- Find a safe environment to decompress and share your experience.
- Solicit help from someone who has been through it or an expert who can guide you.
- Do what you need to do to document, block, and delete your cyberbully and his or her friends from your life.
- Report it (backed up by your physical screenshots and documentation) to the proper authorities, such as Facebook, Twitter, the police.
- Find your way back to going about your business through empowerment. Surround yourself with positive and supporting people, find links and sites to help you expel the toxins.
- Know that you are not alone. It doesn't matter what you've done, it does not give another person license to cyberbully or post trash about you. You are not responsible for other people's behavior.