Martha Kalifatidis was no stranger to controversy on the latest season of Married at First Sight Australia. Unafraid to speak her mind, she faced backlash for supporting her friend Jessika Power through her cheating scandal with Daniel Webb, even receiving death threats at one point.
But even months since the show finished airing, Martha is still the victim of internet trolls on a daily basis and she has taken to Instagram to reveal the extent of it.
"Long before I endured bullying on a public platform I was familiar with it," she wrote.
"My first day of school, I couldn't speak a word of English. When I was only 10, my family and I relocated to the USA. I started school there and I was ridiculed and made fun of for my accent, what I wore, and everything in between."
She says she hoped moving back to Australia to go to high school would be different, but it wasn't.
"I thought moving back home to Australia would bring some relief from the cruelty I encountered at school. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case.
"Then followed my first real job, again I was surprised to find out that even amongst adults bullying was present, perhaps even more so than in the school yard.
"Currently I deal with cyber bullying on a daily basis. It is by far the ugliest thing I've experienced. I am blessed to be surrounded by strong and supportive people. I was lucky enough to over come it, but so many others are NOT as lucky. So today I am taking a stand."
Martha has teamed up with designer Auguste The Label to promote their Hero shirt, which she is wearing in the Instagram post alongside her mum. 100% of proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts is being donated to The Cybersmile Foundation - an organisation against cyber bullying, and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation who support children against violence and bullying.
"That's something I can get behind," Martha shared, "and you should too."
Sadly Martha isn't the only member of the Married at First Sight cast to be the target of internet trolls. Daniel Webb revealed in May that he had received death threats.
The 35-year-old single father used the threats as opportunity to send an anti-bullying message to his followers.
"They're so sad at their own life they try to bring someone else down to make themselves feel better," he said of the trolls.
"If you're getting bullied online, don't let it get to you. It's merely a reflection of their own character."
"If you are in a mentally unstable way and need help, please reach out to the right helplines and get yourself right."
Understanding first hand the impact bullying can have, Dan is currently working with the anti-bullying charity I Can I Will. The organisation focuses on children with special needs, and aims to promote inclusion and prevent youth suicide and self-harm caused by bullying.
His ex-partner Jessika Power, too, has struggled with criticism from the public - mainly focused around her appearance. The 27-year-old recently admitted to having undergone $26k worth of plastic surgery since her break-up with Dan, and revealed that the whole experience of being in the public eye took a toll on her self-esteem.
"Watching myself back on TV, I feel insecure about my chin and lips," she said. "I'm a confident girl, but having tens of thousands of people criticise me each day has shaken me to the core. I felt like I had heaps wrong with me afterwards.
"People laughed at me and made memes and I was ridiculed. It never drove me to tears because the hate didn't affect me, but when they'd point out specific body parts that needed work, I'd stop and think."
Unfortunately, social media has exasperated the problem. "I block and delete trolls," she says. "My block list is disgusting – maybe 400 people long. I block at least 15 per day!"
And most recently, Cyrell Jiminez-Paule was the victim of a racist attack earlier this month.
She broke down in tears as she revealed that she was physically and verbally attacked at a café in New South Wales. The incident sparked outrage among other former MAFS contestants, who took to social media to speak out in support of Cyrell and express their disgust.
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