Jazzy Golfer on why she spoke out against abusive behaviour on social media

If you think golf is exempt from incidents of online hate and sexist abuse, then think again as a rising social media star speaks about her unpleasant recent experiences.

The Jazzy Golfer noticed a post from PGA Memes on Instagram that she found offensive, so much so that she replied with her opinion that comparing men having a tantrum on a golf course to a woman enduring her period was not remotely funny.

What followed was a torrent of “sexist, misogynistic & derogatory” abuse that prompted Jazzy to publish a video on her social media platforms in which she spoke out about the manner, and the scale of the abuse.

The original post on the PGA Memes account, which has 682,000 followers, has since been deleted, but the account holder did pin Jazzy’s response to the top of their post which caused the volume of abuse to escalate to alarming levels, with echoes of the recent experience of former England footballer Karen Carney.

“Some responses started to come in, but I wasn’t really that bothered,” Jazzy told Sky Sports Golf. “But then the PGA Memes account pinned my comment on their Instagram post, so if anyone visited that particular post, my comment was visible first.

“That invited a mass pile-on of abuse, and it seemed similar to what happened with Karen Carney on Twitter recently, when she was targeted by Leeds fans after she was singled out and ended up deleting her account to avoid any more trauma.

“I felt I was being called out for having an opinion they didn’t agree with, and the situation escalated. PGA Memes has close to 700,000 followers on Instagram, and lots of abuse came my way. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, that’s fine. But some of the comments I was getting were absolutely vile and this was all because I disagreed with a meme.

“Quite simply, there was a post I didn’t find funny, so I commented on it. The line between comedy and offence is very flexible and varies from person to person. I totally respect that, and if people want to disagree with me, that’s fine.

A post shared by Jazzy ??‍♀️ (@thejazzygolfer)

“But what isn’t fine is to spout violent, derogatory, sexist, sexually violent messages at a woman online, simply because you disagree with her opinion. Some of them had clearly created accounts purely to send me vile and abusive memories, so there were no repercussions or accountability.”

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Jazzy has been heartened by the volume of support and positive feedback she has received since publishing her video, with Cheyenne Woods (Tiger’s niece) leading the chorus of thanks for a job well done.

“I’ve also had hundreds – and I mean hundreds – of women sending me messages of support,” she added. “They’ve either thanked me for airing my story, or they’ve shared similar stories and incidents, online or at their local golf clubs.

“And I was shocked at the number of women who said they have stopped playing golf because of the way they have been treated on the golf course.

“It was all very sad to hear, so I thought it was the perfect time to record a video and talk about the abuse many women face online, because it is very prevalent. And I shared many of the more graphic messages I received so that people can fully comprehend the extent of the abuse.

“And all because I offered an opinion, and disagreed with something I saw on social media. But the amount of support I’ve received since publishing the video far outweighs the impact of the abuse I was getting.

“I thought that many would agree with me, simply because it’s hard to disagree that being abusive, sexist and violent towards women online is plain wrong. The reach the video got, and is still getting, is actually quite overwhelming.

“I’ve had support from presenters in the United States, professionals on the LPGA and Ladies European Tours, and loads of men as well. The feedback was fantastic, and the amount of people who shared my video on their platforms was vast.

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“I think it was right to speak out about this, based on the abuse I’ve received, that I’ve seen first-hand, and from what I’ve been told by my friends. We need to draw more attention to this issue and do more to identify the culprits.

“I have no doubt that many of them are married, family men, some with young daughters. What if we turned it on them, and asked them how they would feel if someone spoke to their daughter, or their wife, sister or mother in that way?

“It is unacceptable, but there are too many offenders who have no idea of the impact – both short and long term – of their actions.”

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