Digital bullying, a real threat

When someone is harassed through social media, or their identity is stolen, it can become a nightmare.


Imagine that you have been receiving first seductive messages and then threats. But also this person creates false accounts in your name and steals your identity.

This is how it happened to Scarlett Camberos, a player of the Águilas del América Women’s Club, for more than a year she suffered digital harassment. Today one of the best women soccer players we have in Mexico, she has had to leave the team and leave Mexico to go play in the United States for safety.

The young woman arrived at the Club at the end of 2021, after standing out in student soccer in the United States and because the Eagles was her father’s favorite team, but since she arrived in Mexico, this barely 22-year-old athlete noticed that an identified man as José Andrés Hernández, that’s what he called himself on his social networks, he began to harass her on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The insistence of this subject was increasing and he even created fake Scarlett accounts. The exacerbated harassment led him to meddle in the soccer player’s life and hacked into her social media accounts to post false information, such as ensuring that he was her sentimental partner.

In July 2022, Camberos made the harassment public after reporting that she had found it near her home and near the team’s facilities in Coapa, which frightened her even more and she filed a complaint against José Andrés, while his family and the America asked to report the fake accounts.

After this event, the young woman broke her silence and wrote on her Twitter account: “I’m not going to stay silent anymore” and revealed that it was her ex-boyfriend who she had left due to physical violence.

It took time for Scarlett Camberos to know that the one who was harassing and threatening her under another name was her ex-boyfriend.

She said that on one occasion in a WhatsApp conversation, José Andrés was upset because he noticed that a heart emoji had arrived, so he grabbed her by the neck and threatened her that if something similar happened again, he would hit her until she cried.

She recalled that at least three other times he hit her in the stomach and held her by the neck, and although she shared photos of her attacker, the message was deleted hours later.

The subject was detained, but only for 36 hours of house arrest. Given Scarlett’s imminent departure, the Club reported that it provided all the facilities for the player to feel safe.

Claudia Carrión, sports director of América Femenil, explained that she was given accompaniment and security at all times, even outside her home, but regretted that the Mexican justice system imposes a minimum sentence for this type of crime.

He commented that Scarlett’s case is not the first, other players have been victims of harassment, so the Club developed a protocol for action in this type of case, but Mexican laws did not help much and Scarlett decided to return to the United States to play for Angels City, a team founded by actress Natalie Portman and Serena Williams.

Ángel Villacampa, technical director of América Femenil, published a statement on his Twitter account for the authorities, asking them to “guarantee respect and care to all women. I make a strong call to the authorities to act in a more efficient and timely manner, but above all to comply with the laws, to avoid a repetition of these unfortunate events.”

In her farewell letter, Scarlett said “I sincerely hope that things change in Mexico so that no woman suffers what I had to experience.”

Just the same week that this situation occurred with the Águilas player, another Club Pachuca player evidenced the sexual cyberbullying she is going through.

This is Selene Cortés, who on her Twitter account showed a young man identified as angelpuentee01, who sends her sexual messages in which he writes that he intends to sexually abuse her.

On Friday, March 24, this player issued a statement on her social networks in which she explained the reason why she posted the messages from her stalker and mentioned that it is only one of the many messages that come to her.

She mentions that she did it to show solidarity with her colleagues who go through this type of violence, which has become frequent and normalized in their environment and even by themselves to the point of being afraid to raise their voices, because they feel they will be ignored. and that their denunciations will not generate a significant change.

These are two terrible but visible cases, that’s why we know about them. But being a victim of online violence is very common.

In its latest report on Cyberbullying in Mexico, the Inegi revealed that the population that suffered cyberbullying between 2020 and 2021 increased from 21% to 21.7%, that is, 17.7 million people over 12 years of age. Of these, 9.7 million were women and 8 million were men, that is, women are more violent.

For the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), cyberbullying is a behavior that is repeated and seeks to frighten, anger or humiliate other people through digital technologies, but cyberbullying leaves a fingerprint that can serve as evidence to stop the abuse.

Bullying in networks is something that millions of people suffer from. Creating fake accounts both to threaten and to steal someone’s identity happens every day. It is cyber violence to create false profiles and/or usurp identity to upload photos, make offensive comments or even sexual offers.

Many times, accounts are opened in dating applications such as Bumble or Tinder with the photo and personal data of the person they want to annoy.

In Mexico City there is the Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence, which includes cyber violence and which recognizes as a crime violating the privacy of women by filtering or disseminating images or videos of content sexually or showing the semi-nude body of a woman without her consent.

Spreading false rumors and defaming a woman with the purpose of damaging her reputation or embarrassing her with her friends and family through social networks and the Internet is also recognized as cyber violence.

There is the law, but on very few occasions that law is applied. In the case of Scarlett Camberos, it has been denounced and even changed country. A tragedy what happened to him. But there are thousands of Mexican women who are in similar cases and nobody protects them.

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