PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh author, entrepreneur and TV personality is taking action after living through a terrifying situation of being the target of cyber harassment and revenge porn.
Darieth Chisolm is fighting back through a new multimedia program she’s created called “50 Shades of Silence.”
“I didn’t know where to turn, quite frankly, because I was so afraid,” says Chisolm of the situation she’s been living through.
Thousands of people around the world deal with cyber harassment every day. But, for Chisolm, it all started at the beginning of the year.
Chisolm says on Jan. 1, she received a threatening phone call from an ex-boyfriend she hadn’t seen months.
“He told me he would kill me. He said he would stab me in my heart and shoot me in my head,” she said.
After the phone call, Chisolm said the situation continued to escalate.
“I would imagine, it was New Year’s Eve, he had been drinking, but that’s really where this all began. It didn’t stop,” she says. “There were consistent texts and posts and messages that were, ‘Come back, I miss you,’ to ‘I hate you,’ to everything in between.”
Then, she was faced with a frightening situation. Chisolm said she received a harassing text message with a meme printed with lies.
“The next day were photos of me naked that he had taken while I was asleep living with him. He had taken them probably about a year before that and he had them, I didn’t even know that,” she said.
Watch Chisolm’s Pittsburgh Today Live interview —
She says he told her he would stop only if she came back to him, and when she didn’t, he put the photos on a website and called her friends and colleagues to direct them to the online site.
“I didn’t want anyone to see me in these compromising photos, and then I had a friend say to me, ‘You did nothing wrong. He took these without your knowledge. He’s the one who is to blame here,’” Chisolm said. “And hurt people hurt [other] people, and that is the saddest part about this. That is where this whole issue of abuse is in this day and age.”
After having the site shut down for good, Chisolm decided to take action for others going through the same thing.
“Lots of people don’t know about it, and my research shows thousands of people who are living in this sense of shame and guilt and pain locked away in silence for fear of being judge or humiliated. It is a very challenging emotion, and I was there, I was there for many months and wasn’t sure about telling my story,” she said. “Given my celebrity, my credibility, wondering whether or not that could be impacted, and then it occurred to me that if I don’t use my voice, if I don’t share this story and if I don’t help others, that I’m literally doing myself and others a disservice.”
So she created “50 Shades of Silence,” and is now working on a documentary about victims and advocates worldwide.
“After I literally picked myself up and decided that I was emotionally available for this, that I would use my tools, my resources, my voice to come out, talk about it, and film a documentary,” Chisolm said.
“It’s not just my story, it’s the story of other victims, these internet companies that need to be more responsible and move quickly to remove content,” she added. “The biggest issue that we face, in my opinion, is the lack of legislation that protects victims.”
Chisolm will now travel the world, hoping to bring awareness to this growing issue, and find solutions to a problem that is very difficult to track and trace.
If you would like to visit her website, 50 Shades of Silence, click the following link: http://50shadesofsilence.com/