DEATH THREATS: Mum attacked online for US woman's comments
IMAGINE going about your daily life, minding your own business, when suddenly you start receiving threatening and abusive messages online.
Bundaberg woman Carly Clark is a marketing manager and a hobby farm owner from Sharon who found out having the same name as someone can be a horrific and traumatising ordeal.
The mother of five said the abuse started about 12 months ago when she received a message on Facebook in French.
"The abuse started coming from France, then the US, then New Zealand," Mrs Clark said.
"When it first happened I got a wave of abuse with everything from people threatening to punch me in the face and physical abuse right through to threats against my family, threatening to kill my children, you name it."
Mrs Clark had no idea what was going on, and when she responded to her abusers, they sent her article links.
In July 2018 the American Carly Clark, a pet store attendant from South Carolina, went viral after she made threats online to breastfeeding mothers.
"I'm not sorry - The next female that tries to whip her boob out to breastfeed in front of my kids will get a black eye, move that baby (because) I'll punch it too," she wrote on her Facebook page.
Further reports said the US woman had been fired from her job because of what she'd said.
"Then another wave of abuse came," Mrs Clark said.
"Things like 'sucked in mole for losing your job'; it ramped up again.
"Of course I know it's not me, and you try to ignore it, but there is a point where you go, 'OK now this is getting ridiculous'.
"I've had messages in the last two or three days in Spanish. Some have been quite disturbing. I deleted a lot of them because they were just vile."
Mrs Clark has now added a notice to her Facebook profile picture in a bid to stop people from sending her abusive messages.
She said she was fearful of her and her family's safety.
"What's to say someone doesn't turn up on my doorstep one day and punch me because they think I'm this woman?," Mrs Clark said.
"Who do you contact in a case of mistaken identity online? If I call the police, what are they going to do? If I contact Facebook, what can they do?"
The farmer and marketing manager said she considered people's suggestions to change her own name online, but she said working in marketing and trying to promote her business, this would not be helpful.
"Social media is part of what I do for a living," Mrs Clark said.
"I can't physically take myself off Facebook because then I'm not actually doing my job."
Mrs Clark has had to filter thousands of abusive messages over the past year but said receiving threats to her business was the last straw.
"One girl yesterday... went on to every post that I'd posted for the farm and commented, and spread that 'why would you support this woman who said these things,' and it took me 45 minutes to get rid of everything she put on," she said.
"I don't know who saw that in that time. We've got a lot of followers of Splitters Farm and I'm not posting pictures of myself so they wouldn't actually know it's not me.
"It was really quite hurtful."
Mrs Clark does not agree with the American or condone what she said, but thinks any form of online abuse is uncalled for.
"Considering the abuse I've received, I can only imagine what this girl who actually made the comments has been through," she said.
"I just don't think, it doesn't matter what she said, that anyone deserves to be trolled online. It's just been crazy."
Mrs Clark urged people to do their research before contacting people.
"It's really easy to throw abuse at people from behind a phone or behind a computer, but I think it's disgusting," she said.