Emma stands strong after cyber bullying
CYBER bullies may have knocked Emma Thompson down, but they haven't kept her there.
The Calliope local is back, stronger than ever, and ready to help others in the fight against online bullying, with a Freedom Festival and Family Fun Day planned for March 21 at the Gladstone Showgrounds.
Earlier this year, Facebook bullies forced the Calliope woman to abandon her business that was selling clothing for larger women.
When a promotional competition calling for images of plus-sized women in their best outfits went viral, the business's Facebook page and website were overrun by abusive commentators.
Ms Thompson received death threats and her customers were abused.
"Bullying is out of control on Facebook," Ms Thompson said at the time.
"You think it's only something that can happen to children, but there are adults who are severely bullied online."
Today, she says they haven't won.
"It was a horrible experience, but through it all I can honestly say I've come out the other end a better person, and am determined to help.
"The biggest thing was I learnt from Reach Out that the problem wasn't me," she said.
She said when her story broke in The Observer, people from every age group started contacting her privately about their own experiences.
"Bullying on Facebook is rife and so many people are affected," she said.
"When I realised how bad it was for other people in our community, I wanted to spread the word about Reach Out and do something to get people talking."
Ms Thompson said the family day was about having fun, raising money for Reach Out, "getting off the computer and raising awareness that there is help if you have been bullied".
Ms Thompson is currently looking for more support to get the event off the ground.
The Gladstone Showgrounds and Fun-time Amusements are already on board.
"We still need a lot of help, but we are getting there," she said.
For more information visit the Freedom Festival and Family Fun Day Facebook page, or phone 0481 186 631.