I just found out that online harassment is a real and serious problem. I’ve heard before of people confronted with this major issue, but most of them were women and I thought their bullies must be sex crazed men. As it turns out, this is not always the case.
Elisa Hategan (Picture 1), or Eliza by her former Romanian name, is someone I went to school with in Bucharest, Romania, up until the 4th grade. She was a slow kid that nobody really liked and, as a result of a broken home, she wasn’t particularly clean either. So of course as kids we kept our distance.Picture
After the 4th grade, she moved with her mom who was living in Toronto, Canada. And when I was 15, I also went to Toronto, where I have many relatives. I don’t really remember how, but we met there a couple of times. I mean, I don’t think anyone would avoid an ex classmate when an ocean away from home.
This came with a big shock! She became the poster child and spokes person of the Canadian neo-Nazi movement The Heritage Front and dressing the part. She was in fact trying to convince me to attend their meetings and explaining to me why blacks are inferior and why it makes her sick to see interracial couples. But apparently things later changed when she found out that she’s, in fact, Jewish. This turned her 180 and she became this self-proclaimed feminist and anti-racist militant. I’m not going to comment on what turned her around as it doesn’t constitute the subject of my rant, but one can’t help questioning themselves: Is it possible to be a Jewish Nazi?
Anyway, after a few months, I returned to Romania and didn’t hear from her until recently, when she decided to “come out” regarding her troubled childhood. She looked for a possible target and found me to pin point as the main source of school abuse.
So in her post I became this abusive monster who was punching her in the stomach and grabbing her breasts, putting bugs in her hair and constantly humiliating her. Again, she’s talking about a time when we were 7 to 10 years old. I was apparently this leader of bullies, class president and socially favored child of (back then) communist Romania. “The boys at my school started to pick on me – none worse than Marc Faur, the gang leader of a posse of boys who made my life miserable. He sensed who the most vulnerable, defenceless kids were in our school and honed in on me. […] Marc always made sure to punch me in the stomach with as much power and force as he could muster.”
Now everyone who was our classmate knows I was beat up frequently in school, far from the bully she portrays me as. I was never the class president, I grew up in a rather artistic environment and most people know the condition of artists in a communist regime (and no, my mom wasn’t a famous opera singer back then, as she writes; she was a singer in a choir, much later becoming a lead soprano).
She goes on to say she has nightmares because of me. So why did she want to meet up in Toronto, if I’m this Jack the Ripper?
Needless to say I was quite surprised with her post (she made sure I know she wrote it before blocking me on Facebook). Before finding out a bit later about her history with online harassment and identity thefts and before she turned full psycho, I actually felt sorry for her. She may indeed have had a sad childhood because of her broken home and I thought that maybe, in so many years, she built up this alternate reality in her head. For a moment, I thought her suffering may be real. Like everyone else, I was never talking or socializing with her in school. If that means not being nice, well, nobody was nice to her.
So, with the best intentions and a huge amount of naivety, I decided to write to her. She was, after all, someone in pain, someone who’s desperately searching for attention. This is my message and the way she re-posted it on her blog by cutting a big part of it. Also, by “not being nice” I meant “not being more friendly and communicative”. Big mistake! Of course she turned it around the way she wanted.
The following images are my message and how she chose to re-post it on her blog:
2. She bought the domain name marcfaur.com and redirected it to her post.
3. She created an e-mail address with my name, firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. She created accounts with my name on stock sites where I sell images.
5. She comments that I’m a pedophile on Youtube videos of my daughter playing the cello.
6. She sends (again) messages to my clients telling them I’m a pedophile who abuses his models.
7. She sends me e-mails with my stolen identity.
8. One minute later, as I check her blog to see if she posted any other filth, she comes back with another one:
If I knew this person is deranged and has a long history of harassment and identity theft, I would have simply ignored her. Sometimes trying to reach someone with a kind, understanding word may blow up in your face.