One morning in 2015, Tracey Jewel woke up to dozens of messages from concerned friends.
There were screenshots. People asking if she was okay. And on the post, there were countless people she didn’t know making fun of her.
The 34-year-old told Mamamia it was only once she was sent these screenshots that she became aware that a photo of her, accompanied by a cruel caption, was going viral.
In a Facebook group titled ‘Things for sale in Toowoomba,’ an unnamed person wrote:
“Selling my old ride. 1982 model. Exterior tidy. Internal flogged out (details below). Very noisy unit. Rare 82 model with dual air bags in working order. Has been rear ended far too many times and is full of bog.”
The post continued with the nasty description, comparing the mum-of-one to a used car.
"Within a matter of days it went crazy viral it was everywhere and hundreds of people were sending it to me," Tracey said.
"I just couldn’t believe people could also be so hurtful, laughing and commenting on it and sending it around."
In the days following, Tracey shared a status on her own Facebook, drawing attention to the way in which the man's post was cyberbullying.
"How can people get away with it?" she asked. "What would you do if this was your daughter?"
She also acknowledged the men who had commented, "I'll have her," on the photo, pointing out that perhaps a better use of their time would have been to report the post instead.
Tracey said that at the time, "I reported it to Facebook and cyber crime but unfortunately they couldn’t trace it back".
"I got word of a guy I went on a date (if you could call it that) boasting about doing it but that was never confirmed."
It's a sad reality that a person can share such a vindictive, disturbing post about another person and face no consequences.
Perhaps the person who shared it thought it was funny. Perhaps other people in the group thought it was funny too.
But the ordeal of being described in an entirely dehumanising way, in such a public forum, with insults most of us couldn't even imagine, is an experience someone never, ever forgets.
Clare and Jessie Stephens debrief on last night's episode of Married at First Sight on Mamamia's recap podcast.