Jelena Dokic needed a moment to compose herself as she revealed details of her trolling torment in a powerful appearance on Q+A on Monday night.
The Aussie tennis icon has become one of the most important voices in the public battle surrounding online abuse after her series of devastating revelations in recent years.
The 39-year-old was subjected to horrific social media trolling throughout the Australian Open, revealing she has repeatedly been told to kill herself in the wake of her tragic revelations she had to fight suicidal thoughts about jumping off the edge of a building.
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She has also been open about her experience with family violence and body-shaming.
Dokic, who made the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2009, became visibly emotional when sharing one specific vile comment she continues to receive from online trolls.
Her emotional response came after being asked “what impact did online trolling have on you both personally and professionally”,
“I’m not out here hurting anyone,” she said.
“I am the opposite, I am trying to do something good with my platform and create a safe space and a community as well.
“You do get a bit of this hate and you get trolling and I’ve had it on everything, from a mental health perspective to body shaming to abuse as well.
“I consider myself to be pretty strong and I’ve got pretty thick skin, but to actually read some of those things like, ‘Are you going to try and kill yourself again?’ — which is what happened this year — with a laughing emoji…
“I’m not the only one who gets it, and it’s been something that I’ve been so passionate about.’
Dokic on Monday again lobbied for more awareness of the issue and for action from policy makers and social media giants.
Her voice briefly broke when describing the horrific impact mental health has across every aspect of Australian society.
“Actually people’s lives are at stake,” she said.
“You have no idea how many people I had just walking through the grounds of the Australian Open going to my next match to commentate and do my work come to me and say, ‘Thank you so much for tackling this because my brother took his life 24 hours ago and we were at his funeral’.
“Then you read these comments and it was breaking my heart to actually hear this but I actually know that that’s how it works because there are so many people suffering.”
She said online abuse cannot be normalised or accepted.
Dokic this week made headlines for her public appearance at an event in Melbourne where her new look had fans doing a double take.
Dokic uploaded several images to her personal Instagram account showing off her outfit for the AIME (Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event), a trade event for the meetings and event industry in the region.
“My look for the AIME Asia Pacific event,” she wrote.
“Outfit (dress and jacket) by @witcheryfashion.”
Her second post was a close up look where she thanked Alex Munro for her hair and makeup for the event where she was a keynote speaker.
The comments section of the posts were flooded with fans absolutely loving the new look Dokic.
“Beautiful and classy as always,” one user commented. “Sensational look.”
“You are beautiful inside and out, Jelena!” another added.
“What a fantastic Australian role model you are,” one more wrote.
“You’re on fire. Thank you for being the amazing person you are.”
Dokic has recently been widely praised for her commitment to calling out trolls and highlighted another disgusting case in January where she was told to kill herself by a Serbian Instagram user.
“A new low and this actually made me cry this morning when I woke up and read it,” she wrote.
“Just when you think online abuse and trolling can’t get any worse. Almost 1 million people commit suicide in the world every year.
“That’s scary and so sad and then people like this disgusting person and a few others out there make fun of it!? How disgusting. They should (be) ashamed of themselves.”
Her brave, public stance included a surprising detail that the majority of the abuse has been sent by women.
“The ‘body shaming’ and ‘fat shaming’ over the last 24 hours has been insane,” she posted in all capitalised letters.
“Coming from everywhere in the world and a special shout to so much of it coming from Serbia as the last picture confirms.
“And, yes, a lot of them are women too. So much for ‘women supporting women’.
“Here are just a few examples confirming just how much body shaming I am being subjected to in Serbia as well. And this first picture? EVIL. There is no other word for it.
“Disgusting. People should be so ashamed. The most common comment being ‘what happened to her, she is so big’?
“I will tell you what happened, I am finding a way and surviving and fighting. And it really doesn’t matter what I am doing and what happened because size shouldn’t matter.
“What matters is your online abuse, bullying and fat shaming. That’s what matters because those of you that do it are just evil, bad, mean and ignorant people.”
Dokic was inundated with support from people slamming the trolls.