In 2019, it was found that over one-third of Malaysian women have been harassed or assaulted. IRL asked women in Malaysia about their stories. These are these women's stories from their perspectives: When I was 14, I started posting pictures of my makeup looks and outfits on Instagram. I had no intention of getting followers. I would just post them because I like them. Unexpectedly, I started getting attention and gained followers.\u00a0 Eventually, I started doing some modelling and loved creating content.\u00a0 I could express myself. Who wouldn\u2019t enjoy that? Soon I started seeing an opportunity to use my social media to gain some money. I started getting sponsors and modelling opportunities.\u00a0 I started to represent myself and would get a few hundred with certain brand deals.\u00a0 I started getting harassed as a minor. However, the more my account grew, the more I realised some of my audience were not there just to appreciate or get inspired by my outfits or makeup.\u00a0 They would send me unsolicited penis pictures and ask for my nudes in my DMs. They ignored that I was still a minor and did not care.\u00a0 In the beginning, I was confused why this was happening.\u00a0 I did not understand why I was getting these messages. I expected people to be like, \u201cWow, she has great fashion,\u201d not to get sexualised.\u00a0 I started asking myself, \u201cWhat am I doing to get this kind of attention?\u201d Was I dressing provocatively? No.\u00a0 Even though the answer was no, it made me overthink everything. I loved creating content, but I was also scared. I felt unsafe every time I was outside of my house. All this made my anxiety worse. Sometimes I would be walking down the street, and random people would scream out, \u2018sasyuh\u2019 which is my Instagram username and start cat-calling me. Most of them were older men. Even in school, most of them were older boys which did not make me feel safe. Once, a guy one year my senior threw a coin at me and asked me to sleep with him right in front of my classmates and everyone just stared at me as if I deserved it.\u00a0 Since that happened, I started missing school but the teachers did not mind since I still finished my homework and had decent grades. At one point, people started sending me pictures of the street I lived on, or of me when I was out in the mall. Once a guy from my school came to my house with his friend and started asking for me. I\u2019ve never spoken to the guy before, let alone see him around the school. I started getting suicidal tendencies from how people treated me because of social media. The boys in my school would slut-shame me and verbally abuse me.\u00a0 They would say things like, \u201cyou\u2019re dressing so modern, it\u2019s inviting unwanted attention. So if we do anything, it\u2019s not our fault.\u201d As if, what I was wearing was justifiable if they touched me inappropriately. The girls would never support me too. Nevertheless, there were a handful of people who would message me showing their support. People blamed me for what was happening. I told a few people about the harassment, but no one saw it from my perspective.\u00a0 Their responses were always,\u00a0 \u201cYou chose this life, so face it,\u201d\u00a0 \u201cWhat did you expect?\u201d \u201cYou should have known better than to do social media,\u201d But as a 14-year-old, no one tells you the downsides of doing social media. The only thing\u00a0 people know about being an influencer is having a lot of following and getting free products.\u00a0 When someone talks about being a social media influencer, it always seems glamorous.\u00a0 Receiving comments like this made me aware of the real world. It made me realise that I have to be careful of the men I let in my life. Nowadays, I have a hard time trusting anyone, especially men and keep only a few people close to me.\u00a0 I want to stop doing social media. For a while now, the thought of quitting social media has been in my head. I never felt comfortable doing it but I needed the money. I started supporting myself since I started getting money off social media. Everything I wanted, I paid myself including food.\u00a0 So I started posting less frequently and engaging less with my followers. I grew a thick skin and tried not to get affected by what people are saying. I would just block them instead. Over the 5 years, I have gained 26k followers. However, now with the telegram groups, like V2K going around, it makes me more worried since their targets are usually famous Instagram girls.\u00a0 When I post a picture and see the saves and shares, I start wondering, \u201cAre people saving my picture for outfit inspiration or is it a creepy man masturbating to my pictures?\u201d It\u2019s mixed feelings because I do want my posts to have engagement but the right kind, but I won\u2019t know for sure who is seeing my posts. It\u2019s exhausting and stops being fun. I realised I rather have a low profile than have people recognise me and jeopardise my safety. It\u2019s just a lot of pressure to always look over your shoulder when you\u2019re out. Eventually, it takes a toll on my mental health. Right now, I just want to focus on my well being.\u00a0 As much as I want to quit, I can\u2019t because nowadays Instagram is seen as your portfolio. I\u2019m planning to model and modelling agencies like to scout models who have an active social media presence.\u00a0 My food for thought If you want to be an influencer, you have to be strong and not let people\u2019s words get into your head. Despite what they say, be you.\u00a0 Most importantly, be careful with what you post online and never put your personal life out there. And remember, whatever comments or DMs you get, it\u2019s never your fault, if they are sexualising you.\u00a0 Doing social media may look easy and fun but it\u2019s really stressful. You constantly have to fit in these specific sets of beauty standards to get a double tap on your photo. No one really knows what\u2019s going on behind the screen. Social media is all a facade. People love to pick on you even if you don\u2019t do anything.\u00a0 And if someone does do something wrong, instead of educating them, they just cancel them without thinking about your mental health. There are tons of people out there who have gotten unnecessary hate online just because of what they decide to do in their personal life but because the audience doesn\u2019t agree with them, they get hate. People tend to forget we are humans too. For more stories like this, read: Men, No Always Means No. Here\u2019s My Experience of Being a Woman in Malaysia and I\u2019m Constantly Harassed And Told That I\u2019m Exposing Myself On Tiktok, Here\u2019s The True Story.