Isn’t the internet fantastic?! Because of it, you get to work independently and safely as an escort or masseuse, run your business for free and pick your hours and clients to suit you.
But, every silver lining has its cloud and when you conduct your business online, that cloud is the very unpleasant type of ‘troll’ who thinks it’s OK to abuse you or your profession.
Abuse may include but is not limited to name calling, false claims about you providing illegal services and threats of rape or violence.
But what can you do when a stranger, an ex, a client or their disgruntled partner or worse yet, some nutjob launching a hate campaign, attacks you online?
Getting abusive messages, threats or maliciously negative reviews can be really distressing and have a damaging effect on your reputation, your business and your income or even land you in trouble with the law.
But, there are things you can do to tackle it, so here’s a few tips on dealing with the dark side of social media:
As with most things, prevention is better than cure.
Don’t make life easy for creeps or obsessives. Always protect your real identity and work under a pseudonym no matter how much you like or trust your clients.
Use a separate email address and phone number for work and that way, if someone wants to target you or becomes obsessed with you, they won’t be able to trace you on any other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter: you do not want ‘Friend Requests’ from trolls.
To manage your online persona and keep tabs on anything that’s being said about you, you can create alerts through services like Google. These alerts notify you if a specific search query, such as your Vivastreet profile name, is mentioned somewhere online.
On top of that you can conduct regular searches yourself to make sure that if something is being said about you, you can tackle it quickly.
Also, it’s always worth helping out your fellow escorts so if you see an abusive message about them or their services somewhere, send them a message to make sure they’re aware of it and if they are, give them a little support.
Addressing a problem:
The companies behind social media sites have come under pressure recently to take more accountability for the things said on their sites and improved reporting procedures are now in place.
You don’t even need to hold a Twitter account to tackle abuse. If you find that someone has been writing offensive things about you or your service in their Tweets, you can report it and the staff at Twitter will do something about it.
Similarly, if someone puts offensive posts on your Facebook page, you can hide the message from your news feed, you can block the offender to prevent further messages from appearing or report it to Facebook who are obligated to address it.
If you receive any abusive or threatening messages through your Vivastreet account, let us know about it immediately. We take your safety seriously and have a number of security measures in place to protect your identity.
What you should never do is enter into an argument, debate, or exchange of insults with someone who posts malicious messages. What these people often want is to provoke a reaction but unlike you, they have nothing to lose by being abusive online.
You have your reputation as an individual and a service provider to protect, so although it’s tempting to give as good as you get, don’t. Often, your abuser is anonymous, you aren’t.
If you really feel the need to respond, always do so in a polite, calm and measured way.
If, for example, the wife of one of your clients posts abusive messages about you, only reply to say that you’re sorry she feels upset/angry/betrayed, that she has your sympathy but that she really should be having a conversation about her feelings with her husband.
Doing this is important because to anyone reading the thread of an online conversation, you will come across as the reasonable, rational, injured party and sympathies will lie with you.
Remember that almost everyone has some sort of social media account and is aware of how internet trolls operate. By taking the high ground, you’re showing your audience that anything the abuser claims is unwarranted.
Involving the Law:
If you work as an escort or masseuse, then you probably have a thick enough skin to shrug off some of the negative stereotypes about you and your profession.
While this is admirable, it’s not wise to assume that someone who threatens you is all talk and no trousers. You’re smart enough to know that your safety is paramount and any threats of any sort of violence should be taken seriously.
Apart from taking more care when accepting bookings from new clients or being more discreet with your existing ones, you have a right to be protected from violence or a fear of it and should report online abuse to the authorities.
Cyber-stalking is now a criminal offence and reporting it may just prevent your online stalking, harassment or bullying from escalating to something that happens in person.
You have two options. You can report it directly to the police or if you know who is behind it, you can hire a solicitor and take civil action against them.
Don’t refrain from reporting threats or abuse just because you work in an irregular occupation. The police have a responsibility to protect you and respect your confidentiality.
Whether you report online abuse to the police or the courts, the powers-that-be will need as much evidence of the messages and their content as you can provide.
Take a screenshot of the messages or print them out and if you receive abuse by phone, note the time and date of the call and any phone number if it’s not withheld.
Most abusers aren’t brave or stupid enough to make their number visible when they call, so blocking incoming calls from withheld numbers is one way to prevent getting them at all.
If you need any more advice or information then read the safety advice in our adult blog or contact one of our customer service team who will be happy to help you.