My name is Sufiah Yusof.
I blog to share my experiences of serious media abuse, stalking, and harassment. This site is specifically to give me an independent voice on my experiences, past and current.
I attracted a lot of media attention due to gaining a place early at Oxford.
Since I was 12, newspapers (including ones notorious for racism, abuse, bullying, and harassment – the Daily Mail especially and other news organisations including the BBC) have abused and bullied me as much as possible.
This wasn’t “a few articles with slightly negative opinions about a well-known public figure who had chosen to be in the public eye”.
My “so-called genius life story” was based on the fact that at 12, senior editors who wanted to “make titillating news” realised my parents were severely mentally ill and vulnerable.
This meant the media could have total access to ME – and as a female I could be “targeted for humiliation and profit for my whole life”.
This wasn’t “being shy and self-conscious over justifiable attention” or “struggling with attending university early and standing out”
But a tsunami of spiteful, dishonest, and abusive articles and pieces planned and set up by print journalists and producers.
The more they learned my parents had no boundaries and they could bully me with no comeback, the worse the media behaved.
It was clear they had numerous planned strategies on how to “continue to target me” for profit.
For example, the Daily Mail had a policy of collecting photographs of me (which they would then print regularly with absolutely no story attached). They then would also print readers letters and comments attacking me.
At the age of 15, I attempted to detach from the horrendous abusive behaviour of the media. They realised they were “losing control of someone they had marked early on as a cash source”.
They couldn’t just “demand I be photographed and accessed with as many weird details put in about me to get readers to enjoy the nasty story”.
They got even angrier.
A clear goal was then set to “punish me”, to obtain complete domination and control.
If I wouldn’t consent to giving them interviews, I would be broken.
To be clear what the media means by “interviews”:
We’re not talking “helpfully promoting women in STEM” interviews
But demands as a young woman (and even now) I agree to their horrifying, disgusting, ludicrous, appalling demands that I “shared with millions of viewers and readers gory details about my abusive family and violence towards me and gave spiteful gossipy remarks about everything I knew about Oxford University and everyone I knew there” for “public titillation” and “clickbait” and “reads”.
Further, to manipulate and present me as if I have “consented” to do this and “am enjoying sharing these details”.
One goal was to “socially isolate” me by running calculated stories trying to “warn normal people off me”.
It’s not about “public reputation” – I was never a “public figure”.
But the media wanted to generate interest in me, to attract predators and controlling odd people with no interest in my wellbeing to follow me around.
Any connection with normal supportive people living dignified private lives would get me free of the media.
If my mental health was destroyed and I had no contact with anyone “normal” as the media had frightened them off (or couldn’t trust anyone as journalists would be offering them cash and connections to give them my details) I could be abused by the media for profit for life.
(for example – I’m regularly contacted by producers clearly desperate for me to advance their careers by exploiting me and forcing me to “tell my story”.
By which they mean “setting me up in the most horrendous way possible”).
I’d feel I’d “have to” regularly traumatise myself by giving my personal details to be written up in the most titillating, humiliating way possible.
I ruined media plans by trying to get away from this abuse.
As they are now doing with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as soon as the Press (from the BBC to the tabloids) lost control, they collaborated to destroy me.
They threw resources into stalking me more.
From the age of 15, now and in the future, I was and will be a target for punishment for them.
My experience in my 20’s – every few months, a spiteful journalist following me around, clearly researching as many of my vulnerabilities as possible.
I’d get messages from people I vaguely knew saying the Mail or other journalists had found them, and been trying to strike up a conversation to “get information about me”.
The journalists weren’t working in isolation – they were clearly passing notes with each other, determined to force me to live a paranoid and anxious life on the fringes of society.
Threatening me by giving my details to my violent father, forcing me to live in fear.
They would attempt to “get into” any social situation I was in and pass information on about me with horrific consequences.
I went to see counsellors about my “depression” – but I wasn’t “depressed”, I was terrified of the journalists and their evil motivations.
For example, from their regular stalking of me they learned I was to be separated from my ex-husband.
The first move of the Mail was to contact my violent mentally ill father to “give him the news so he would know I was alone and could try to track down where I was living”.
It shames me to think of the trauma I lived under, to not be able to share the horror of media abuse with anyone.
And to have this hideous, repulsive, gossipy “global audience” of people “avidly following my life details” with no concern for how they had been obtained.
The media would gleefully report on me “as if” I was independently doing all this crazy stuff (getting into relationships too young, trying to get money through any means necessary).
They’d cheerily run stories on how I was a “wild child” “rebelling against everything and everyone” and making irrational decisions and “speaking out against everyone”.
It was THEIR planning, hatred, and spite that was damaging me and forcing me into these situations.
And at the time (and even now – even politicians and senior Royals are terrified of them) there is very little protection from their calculated, appalling behaviour.
The media co-ordinated and planned a campaign of harassment “behind the scenes”.
This meant if I just lived “like a normal working person in a flatshare” they would obtain my records, put the details on their systems, pass them on to other journalists to make a “feeding frenzy”.
Normal women in their early twenties are dating and “finding themselves” – I was looking for escape from the horror of media harassment through moving in with guys early.
They would give me a few months respite to try to move forward in life, then simply doorstep me, or offer anyone I lived with or worked with money to “report on me”. Then write articles about “what a shame it was I couldn’t settle down”.
The media wanted to punish me as seriously and as viciously as possible for choosing to escape their domination and control at 15.
They would publish articles and programmes with my details (along with outlandish claims about me, highlighting any vulnerability – encouraging as many abusers and predators to target me) and then go “well the only way to get round us stalking and harassing you is to talk to us”.
They would regularly run articles with my (clearly seriously mentally ill) parents to “keep my name public” so anyone around me could identify me if I was trying to live in privacy.
They made sure to print extra details and write articles to “hint I was an ungrateful privileged child who needed to be tracked down and returned to my poor hardworking mother”. This was designed so they could “pass the job of stalking me” onto others.
(with the media and harassing young women, you have to “follow the money” – part of stalking me, was that both my parents and vicious lazy journalists refused to have decent mainstream jobs apart from profiting off me and living off me).
To “punish me” for not giving in and just letting them have interviews when they wanted, the Times and the Mail would just get the details, give them to other journalists or my abusive father.
I still live like this.
Even now, it seems clear journalists like Ben Ellery of the Times have access to a massive folder with my personal details.
Not just “one journalist with a few casual notes”, but information gained through stalking me for years, through whatever unethical and illegal means necessary.
Something accessible to producers and every newspaper so they can blackmail and stalk me when they want to.
They have access to every contact, details of any vulnerability, I have, so they can “pounce” when they want to.
The goal of journalists like Ben Ellery is to use lies and blackmail to force me to talk to them, to “get access” and “start a feeding frenzy”.
Then people like Ben Ellery will be collaborating with other journalists and producers to “force me to capitulate and agree to provide humiliating details of my life for small sums of money so they could get more views and reads”.
Just like I was an animal in a circus.
The media bullies and harasses people for profit, with no mercy or accountability, and this had and will continue to have a horrendous impact on my life and health.
If not for this blog, and small changes in the stalking and harassment laws I have no doubt I would be living an entirely degraded life now, forced to sell stories about myself for a living like a freak.
Or even worse (and I still live with this fear) I noted how the media were frequently trying to publish as many details of my ethnicity and my parents religious background as possible, and write stories claiming I was “setting myself up as a defiant spokesperson against certain values”.
They wanted to “set me up” as a target for any hate mobs.
The motivation was clear – to make out like I was “publicly denouncing or speaking out against certain religious or cultural values” to attract any fanatics to me who would physically harm me.
(it is comforting that contrary to the spiteful and vicious values and motivations of the media and those who work in it, of course religious people are just getting on with their own lives and not trying to stalk random women they don’t know).
Ben Ellery and his colleagues would be regularly contacting me saying “we need to make some clicks and reads – you MUST agree to take part in an interview and say you wanted to give it or we’ll publish it anyway”.
The main aim of this site is to keep a record to protect myself against further harassment and share information and experiences, and compare notes with others harassed by the media.
Please note – I am not a celebrity. The media built me up into this “public figure” with lots of “grand claims” but it was all their construction.
I’m glad to hear from others with experience of media harassment or anything connected to that, but I don’t want to communicate or get messages from random people or “netizens”.
I don’t read these e-mails and find them quite unpleasant to receive. Initially, when I was blogging I was trying to be polite and get readers.
But now I can see that most of these “fans” or people just “following my story” are part of the media harassment problem.
A lot of horrible personal details of my life and childhood were “out there without any consent from me” and no respect for my privacy.
Manipulative journalists would try to traumatise me by publishing as many of my private details as possible and getting everyone reading to “discuss my emotional state”.
The journalists wanted to bully me and destroy my mental health by getting complete strangers to have access as many “details of any abuse or pain” I had gone through and then regularly “bring the issues up” to traumatise me and cause me distress by being “forced to relive them”.
The journalists would claim I “wanted to be famous” or “share my life” and “have a public audience of fans” but I didn’t and don’t!
It was their way of setting me up to harass me and causing me problems.
The journalists wanted all their millions of “readers and viewers” to treat me like I was something on a freakshow with no regard for my privacy.
Like my life was some sort of “reality show” and “updates” would be given to my “audience” when I could be bullied into giving them.
It’s very distressing to me and offensive and rude to contact me (a complete stranger) and go “I’m your friend! Can we talk about something I read about on the internet about you?”.
It just makes you sound creepy and weird and controlling.
I do have to continue blogging (unfortunately – it’s time consuming and I don’t get paid for this) due to media abuse.
It’s my only way of standing against their disgusting illegal behaviour.
But like many women using the internet now, it’s tough and stressful using social media regularly because of random people contacting me or demanding I “update” them or help them with their problems (I have enough of my own!).
Or contribute my “genius ideas” to their businesses when I have never promoted myself as some high-flying genius or anything similar – that was all the fantasy of the media to get people “interested in the story”?
When I first started blogging I thought I should try to build an audience.
but I think most women using the internet (for any reason!) have had to take breaks or not blog or Twitter regularly due to lots of crazy oddballs (they’re called “Reply Guys” on Twitter) not engaging or listening to anything they have written but still obsessing over them!
This is the horror of media harassment – it “set me up” with this horrendous “audience” who just wanted to stalk me and “access the next update on my life” however unethically it was obtained.
That was why Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail sent photographers to take photos of my body as a girl every few months without my consent, and published them with any random caption they could find.
Similarly, the Times sent a photographer just to get images of my teenage female body without even any story – just “to build an audience drawn to me” so they could get more profit later on.
The editors saw me as a 12 year old girl, and decided to “build me up” with as many grandiose claims as possible so they could continue to profit from stalking me and publishing my details during my life.
Many women linked to STEM I know have had similar issues, though not on the same scale!
They have lots of random people online targeting them and both building them up … (and then stalking all their work to start dramatic arguments about them?).
When they just want to privately get on with their own lives and friends and don’t even want to be involved in the drama created by others?!!!
If you do have my best interests at heart, please don’t be “part of this problem”, and have some respect for my privacy.
And try talking to people in real life rather than obsessing over “bonding” with women you’ve read about who you don’t know.
I don’t have time and it freaks me out to get obsessive detailed messages from all these random people who seem to want to “latch onto a female they’ve read about who doesn’t have any interest in them” rather than focus on their own lives and problems!
Sufiah Yusof 2021