‘I lost a sister because of cyberbullying,’ influencer Esha’s sister calls for justice

Rajeswary Appahu was believed to have committed suicide due to the pressure and depression following her recent experience as a victim of cyberbullying.

09 Jul 2024 05:12pm
Among Esha's postings on TikTok.
Among Esha's postings on TikTok.

SHAH ALAM - "Everyone bullied her, cursed, tarnished, and sullied her name on TikTok."

These were the cries of the sister of a social media influencer, Rajeswary Appahu, 29, who is believed to have committed suicide due to the pressure and depression following her recent experience as a victim of cyberbullying.

The deceased's sister, Susila Appahu, 34, said that Rajeswary, affectionately known as Esha, could not bear the actions of other social media users who constantly bullied her.

According to her, Esha, who had more than 183,000 followers on TikTok, was a good sister who never bothered anyone.

"I have lost my sister, I am the eldest. My sister was kind to everyone, she did nothing wrong to anyone. She was devout in her prayers, and her TikTok content was always positive.

"Everyone bullied her because she was a woman, she couldn’t bear it. She is 'gone' now," she told the media.

Susila also urged the public to help her family get justice for her late sister, who was the youngest.

"Please, Malaysians, help us get justice for Esha," she added emotionally.

Esha's body was found at about 11am on Thursday at her home in Gombak Setia, Selangor.

Meanwhile, Malaysian People's Rights Coalition (Urimai) Deputy Chairman David Marshel, revealed that Esha had contacted him last week seeking help to stop the bullying she faced on social media from several individuals using pseudonyms or fake accounts.

According to him, the influencer said that she wanted to commit suicide due to the pressure from the derogatory remarks, which even involved her family members.

"I spent more than 45 minutes talking and advising her. I asked her to stay away from TikTok for a while and return after things had calmed down.

"I also asked her to strengthen her resolve and pray to deal with the stress. She promised not to commit suicide and to avoid all the slander made by the group (of bullies)," he said in a Facebook post.

Elaborating further, David mentioned that deaths due to cyberbullying in Malaysia are not new, including the case of Thivanayagi in Penang in 2020, which led to her death.

"We have urged the government to create a new policy or regulation to curb the proliferation of fake accounts on all social media platforms, especially TikTok and Telegram.

"However, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is still wavering! This latest death is very tragic. There have been several suicide cases due to uncontrolled fake social media accounts before this," he said.

Therefore, David urged the government to mandate that every social media account registration must use an identity card or passport to prevent cases of cyberbullying and extreme defamation.

He said this step would make it easier for authorities to identify perpetrators and take action, as well as allow victims to file defamation lawsuits against those individuals.