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Emily Atack on digital abuse: ‘I feel like I’m being sexually assaulted 100s of times a day’

The star is set to share her experience in new BBC documentary, Emily Atack: Asking for It?

Emily Atack has shared how her mental health has been impacted by the digital abuse she receives.

The I’m A Celeb alum is set to detail her experience of being on the receiving end of cyber-flashing, harassment and rape threats in her new BBC documentary, Emily Atack: Asking for It?

In the doc, the comedian and actress, 33, reveals that she can receive thousands of explicit messages a day in her DMs, and said that the number increased ten-fold during the pandemic lockdown, which left her fearing for her safety.

Atack, who lives alone in London, said: “They will say, ‘I know where you live.’ When I’m in bed at night and hear any sound, I’m terrified. I feel physically under threat. People say, ‘Just block and delete.’ OK, but they could turn up at my door.

“It made me feel ten times more isolated, vulnerable and alone,” she continued, of the increase in abuse during lockdown. “Because 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.”

Speaking to The Times, Atack said that the onslaught of unsolicited sexual images made her feel “lonely, disgusting, embarrassed, ashamed, violated”.

The star, 33, discusses her experience of digital abuse in her new BBC documentary / (BBC/Little Gem Productions/Richard Ansett/PA)

“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,” she continued.

“There were so many other things going on. People were dying. People were in care homes having to wave at loved ones through windows. I didn’t feel I could come out and say, ‘Can you stop sending me pictures of your dick?’ So I bottled it up.”

Atack has previously campaigned against cyberflashing, where individuals send unsolicited explicit images online, and spoke about the issue in Parliament last February.

In March last year, the UK Government announced that cyberflashing would become a new criminal offence with perpetrators facing up to two years behind bars.

Emily Atack: Asking For It? airs on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on January 31 at 9pm.

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