Nova Scotia woman's cyberbullying video mocked by bullies

Courtney Bolivar of Dartmouth posted her video online to raise awareness about the effects of cyberbullying. This week, she became the target of online bullies and received thousands of 'hateful' messages.

20-year-old Courtney Bolivar plans to make more awareness videos, following online attack

Courtney Bolivar of Dartmouth plans to keep making short films about cyberbullying awareness, following an anonymous video that mocks her work. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

A Dartmouth woman who made an online video to raise awareness about cyberbullying says she has become the target of bullies, with thousands of comments pouring in.

Courtney Bolivar, 20, made the video in July 2014. It depicts a young woman who gets a series of degrading text messages, then takes her own life as a result.

"I've dealt with [bullying] my whole life and it's something that awareness really needs to be brought to," said Bolivar.

"Cyberbullying is such a big thing these days, and it's just so terrible that I ended up getting cyberbullied for making a cyberbullying short film."

The irony isn't lost on Bolivar, who noticed a video making fun of her work this week. The attack video shows Bolivar's face and name.

After the video was posted by an anonymous user who goes by Leafy, thousands of comments flooded Bolivar's YouTube channel.

"It was mocked, just basically making fun of the awareness of it and a lot in the video is said that cyberbullying doesn't exist and people can just close their laptop, turn off their phone," she said.

"Now there are thousands and thousands of internet trolls and people just being hateful on all of my videos."

'The worst of the worst'

In total, Bolivar says she has received more than 10,000 messages in five days.

"I'm being called pretty much every name in the book. A lot of people have been telling me to kill myself, just really hateful things. The worst of the worst," she said.

Dalhousie University law professor Wayne MacKay says this isn't the first time he's heard about such a surge since Nova Scotia's cyberbullying law was struck down last December.

"I feel really bad about that because I know how serious it is and how it has a negative impact on their lives. They feel they have no place to turn," he said.

"It's really sad and a failure of our system."

'It should be a top priority'

MacKay chaired Nova Scotia's cyberbullying task force following the death of Rehtaeh Parsons in 2013. 

While he recognizes that improvements to the Cyber Safety Act were needed, he also believes it was crucial and important piece of legislation. 

MacKay wants to see the provincial government re-draft legislation rather than challenge the previous one.

"I think that can be done," he said. "It should be a top priority for government and I would be interested to hear what their plans are with that."

The Nova Scotia Department of Justice has not made a decision on its next step, but maintains the CyberSCAN unit is a "priority."

Since Bolivar doesn't expect the law to protect her from cyberbullies, the NSCC screen arts student plans to keep making awareness videos about cyberbullying.

"I might even make another video inspired by something like this. It might inspire me to make a film about it one day," she said.

"I am just trying to continue being myself."

About the Author

Angela MacIvor

Reporter

Angela MacIvor is CBC Nova Scotia's investigative reporter. She has been with CBC for 10 years, as a reporter and producer in all three Maritime provinces. All news tips welcome. Send an email to cbcnsinvestigates@cbc.ca

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