Mother, daughter victims of cyberbullying

WINDOW ROCK

Begay stans behind table with printouts and paper in hand.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Cyber-bullying victim Caroline Begay says her photo was used in a cyber attack against her.

Like most people, Caroline Begay thought cyberbullying only happened to “teens and celebrities.” Then it happened to her.

The cheerful, 40-ish nursing student and mother of six opened her Facebook Messenger account one day last November to find multiple messages from men she didn’t know wanting to get together with her for sex.

“I was really confused,” she recalled. “Then one of my friends called to ask why I posted an ad on Craigslist.” Begay quickly began to read through the Craigslist ads under “Women seeking men.” There was one ostensibly from her, offering to perform sex acts. When she called up her Facebook profile, she was even more shocked. Her picture was there, but the posts weren’t hers … pictures of naked body parts and posts stating, in the crudest possible terms, that she was looking for younger men on whom to perform all kinds of sex acts.

As soon as she would flag a Craigslist post or call Facebook to take down a profile, another would pop up under a nickname or slightly different name. “All in all, I probably took down 50 fake profiles,” Begay said.

Although she stopped using social media and changed her email address and phone number, the fake profiles and ads kept popping up. “Imagine having to Google your name every day, not knowing what you’ll find,” Begay said. Meanwhile, her 25-year-old daughter, Danielle Kanuho, was having similar issues.

Like her mother, Kanuho sells HerbaLife products. She had always had a good relationship with her clients, yet suddenly they were calling her and asking her to take them off her Messenger list.

“People were saying, ‘Why did you send me that video?’” she recalled. “If that’s the kind of thing you’re into, I don’t want to do business with you.’

“I said, ‘What are you talking about? I don’t even know how to do that!’” Kanuho said.


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Categories: News

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi’ Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at editor@navajotimes.com.