A Reminder Why So Many Women Are Anonymous on the Internet

Gentle Readers,

Part of the danger of being a woman is the ubiquity of information on the internet and how dangerous certain men are. I got a reminder of that this morning.

This summer a man I don’t know contacted me via Facebook about something tangential to my business. This person claimed a friend of mine sent him my way, which didn’t ring true because we are not close but she knows precisely what my business is. I told him that any business requests need to go to my business email and also that what he is asking about was too far afield of what I do. I told him to send me an email and I could potentially forward it to other business people who may be appropriate.

This man waited a week and sent his “explanation” back to me via Facebook. I told him again that I only respond to business information at my business email. (I didn’t know you could even share a word document via Facebook messenger).

I finally get the document and it is essentially a spam comment. ¬†Absolute garbage. It makes no sense. It is ridiculous enough that I just ignore it, because there is no way to respond reasonably to nonsense and I’m not helping him spam other business people.

I blocked him on Facebook because he kept messaging me there to check in about his problem.

This morning he somehow got around the block and asked me if I’m scamming him. Yes, me. The woman minding her own business.

I go to block him, but think I should check his profile first to see what the hell is wrong with him.

This man has shared some of my statuses and a picture of mine (that wasn’t me, thank goodness, but still shows my profile photo as sharing the photo) awhile back.

This is creepy as all get out. My Facebook settings are set to high privacy. He should not have been able to share or see any of these things.

This man has my business email, which includes my business PO box, but not my physical location. A woman concerned about safety has to think about these things. Hopefully the worst he could do is send me mail. Any mail received would be unopened, but kept as evidence, if necessary.

And this saga is a small part of why I am anonymous on the internet. I have no idea what this man will do and he is currently mad at me for not responding to his garbage. He feels entitled even though he does not follow simple directions and he knows that my business does not cover his concerns. He thinks a stranger should go out of their way to help him find someone to help him.

I am not a social service organization. You are a creepy man.

I will be re-locking down Facebook to try to prevent this from happening again.

Author: ZJ Thorne

Lesbian on the path to Financial Freedom

  • Super creepy, ZJT. The internet definitely seems to be an enabler of bad behavior, and it’s a bummer you’re having to deal with some of it. Hang in there!

    • Thanks, Libre. I think I take enough precautions to make sure I am fine, but I don’t like being so viscerally reminded why I do this.

  • Sorry that you had to go through this. I feel like the Internet has led to a giant step backwards in the way that men interact with women. Not that it is good in the real world, but hiding behind a screen seems to make people less restrained. I don’t have a solution, but it is absolutely something that we need to address at a societal level.

    • Men who want to be garbage online are just as likely to be garbage as men in real life. Just last week I was followed by a man literally yelling at me that he has nothing to lose.

      Creepy men use every avenue to be creepy.

  • Emily @ johnjanedoe

    And this is why Jon didn’t let me put ANY photos of Little Bit on the web until she started going to school and pictures began appearing elsewhere. This is why Jon is not on social media, and why while we do reveal our names and location, we don’t share net worth updates and are intentionally vague on lots of things.

    I’m sorry you’ve acquired a cyberstalker. Please be careful and safe.

    • I worry when folks put photos of their children online. People are horrible and unsafe.

      Keep up your protective measures! Safety Solidarity!

  • How scary. How the heck did FB let him see your FB status and photos??? I’ve noticed that FB sometimes lets people with pending friend requests see what’s on your wall, or at least FB used to do that. That’s a huge problem in my book. If my status is set to private (and it absolutely is), there’s no way anyone should be able to see anything unless I’ve accepted them as a friend.

    • He didn’t even friend me, which makes it even weirder. Facebook cull needs to happen.

  • Holly Johnson

    Sorry to hear that – this is why we have a P.O.box! You never know what crazy people will think or do.

  • Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions

    Definitely creepy. I don’t use Facebook much but I think I have it secure, but maybe not. We don’t post pictures, etc. either. We may shift to an online mail service since we will be traveling. Then we don’t have to deal with a physical PO box either.

    • I’m grateful my current photo obscures my face, but not on my business website.

  • Geesh. Stay safe. People can be so creepy online.

    • They really can. Thanks, I’ll do what I can!

  • Be Net Worthy

    As a man, I am comfortable saying, men are creeps! What a bummer that you had to deal with that. I hope he stops harassing you. If he does not, perhaps you can report him to Facebook?

    Best of luck!

  • Wow, really creepy and an annoying waste of time. I’m impressed with how well you’re handling the situation. I really should consider getting a P.O. Box, but haven’t dealt with much mail related to blogging or freelancing, at least just yet. It is pretty inevitable though.

    Here’s to hoping you’ve heard the last of Mr. Creepy <3

    • The PO box is for my business and not my blog. I’m hoping that I have enough built-in anonymity here.

  • Mrs. Groovy

    I wonder what the obsession is when he knows you can’t help him. It’s like he knows but doesn’t care.

    You probably are aware of geo tagging on photos? Make sure you don’t post any photos of you with tagging on them. It shows your location.

    • Definitely aware of geo-tagging. In a previous life, I did some work with people fleeing domestic abuse. There’s a lot you can do to protect yourself, but creepy men still end up winning so often. There’s no 100% solution to persistent entitlement.

      Have you read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker? I think most people should. I’ve always been great about trusting my instincts about a person and this reinforced that. He is also one of the only male authors to write about the dangers of some (so many) men in a way that does not treat women as childish. I share it with basically anyone having any sort of boundary or relationship issue.

      • Mrs. Groovy

        Me too about instincts, honed from years of NYC subway riding late at night. Thanks for the recommendation on the book.

  • Wow if that happened to me, I would report him to facebook and hopefully he gets blocked and nothing ever happens after. This is why I don’t share my address or phone number on my facebook profile, unlike some of my other friends who share everything and anything that they can. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Oh yeah, I don’t share actual contact information. I’ve never known Facebook to care about such low-level creepery.

  • Sorry to hear you had to endure this ZJ. It is not easy being a brave woman that you are and also be sharing and inspiring others on the Internet. While our website gives us total control of what we say and others written opinions (as we get to moderate them), social media is entirely different story, Hard to control that beast. Hope this is just a one-off occurrence that you have put behind.

    • Thanks TFR. Social media is a strange beast. Thankfully I have had little cause for alarm there outside of this fellow. Like every women my inbox is full of strange foreign men telling me I am beautiful and destined to be their wife. Such high hopes.

  • I use my real name online. Haven’t dealt with this as of yet though. Anyway that’s why I three Facebook accounts under three different emails.

    You know how on your personal Facebook account, you can also create a business page? I decided to not do this. My first Facebook account is for friends and family, I signed up for that FB with my real email that I use for friends and family.

    Then I have a second one for my creative blog and have a business page for my creative blog under that one as well. Facebook makes you get a personal profile under each email before you can create a business page.

    Then I got a new email for my personal finance blog and made a business page for that PF blog as well. If I ever want to sell my personal finance blog, the buyers want everything so it will be easy to hand off that Facebook account should that ever happen. I expect to be writing my PF blog for a long time though!

    • My business does not have a facebook page, because it is not the type of business where that would make sense. This creep contacted me at my personal one and would not listen to clear instructions. Creeps find a way to creep.