Emily Atack says she feels like she is sexually assaulted '100 times a day’
The Inbetweeners star says she incessantly receives vulgar messages and pics.
The Inbetweeners star, who is single and lives alone in London, says men frequently send her images of their genitals along with graphic, often violent descriptions of what they’d like to do to her.
One regular messenger has even given himself the online moniker “Emily Atack Makes Daddy Dirty” and will be in touch with the actor and comedian on a frequent basis.
Atack, who played Charlotte in the cult series The Inbetweeners and was runner-up in the 2018 edition of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, now has her own ITV2 programme, The Emily Atack Show, mixing sketches with material from her live stand-up comedy shows.
She relies on social media to grow her audiences and her own profile but has had to accept the barrage of nastiness that comes with it.
The problem got particularly severe during the pandemic when the volume of explicit and extreme messaging flooding her DMs went up and made her feel "isolated, vulnerable and alone".
"All of a sudden I was looking around me, thinking, ‘I’ve got no one to protect me here. I’ve got no one to laugh about it with, even.’ I got really down about it", she told The Times.
"It feels like sexual assault – and I have been sexually assaulted, so I know what that feels like. I feel like I’m being sexually assaulted hundreds of times a day.”
According to the campaign group End Violence Against Women, one in five women has experienced online harassment and abuse, while a June 2022 report by the Victims’ Commissioner reported that one in four women has experienced cyber flashing – being sent sexual images, aka dick pics, without consent.
Jess Phillips, the deputy Labour leader, said she has also been the target of vile messages, receiving more than 600 rape threats in just one night in 2018.
“It just feels overwhelming,” she says. "To have all these people messaging me about the ways they would or wouldn’t rape me, and just to have to always take it – it’s tiring.”
The MP for Birmingham Yardley said social media is partly to blame for the problem but points out that it didn't create the problem.
“The Andrew Tates, this new breed of online misogynists, what they have is a platform bigger than anyone’s ever had before,” she said. “But what they certainly didn’t do is invent misogyny.”
A new documentary starring Atack called 'Emily Atack: Asking For It?' will air on BBC2 on Tuesday, January 31st, at 9 pm.