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Pro Golfer Paige Spiranac Speaks Out About Online Harassment For Being Female While Golfing and Social Media-ing

23-year-old pro golfer Paige Spiranac is currently in Dubai to play in the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic, a women’s European Tour played in the Middle East. At a press conference about the event, a reporter asked Spiranac about online harassment she received following a loss at this same tournament last year. Spirinac’s poignant response is in the video above.

In addition to her professional sports career, Spiranac has amassed a huge social media following, with 800,000 followers on Instagram and 100,000 on Twitter. Certainly a source of fun and an outlet of expression for her, but also a source of hardship last year when, after missing the cut in her professional debut, she bore the brunt of some really hateful online harassment.

After trying to keep a stiff upper lip, Spiranac allows herself to get emotional about it and speak honestly, talking about the fact that a number of teen suicides are linked to cyberbullying. She believes it’s important to be open and honest about what she’s been through in order to hopefully help someone else:

“If I can share my story, and I’m okay with being emotional about it, and I’m okay with kind of expressing what happened to me — because people don’t realize how hard it really was on me, and how bad it really does get, the comments that I do get. People threatening my life, and saying the world is better off without me, you know, people don’t see that side of it. I think it’s really, really important to share that with everyone. And so, it doesn’t matter how I played this week. It really doesn’t. But the fact that I’m here and sharing my story, and hopefully can save someone’s life, I think that’s much more important than if I make the cut or miss the cut.”

She got a well-deserved round of applause for that, and proceeds to give some really sound advice on how to deal with harassment online, focusing on the importance of gathering a strong support system around yourself and talking about what you’re going through so that it can’t be brushed aside or ignored.

I’ve never watched a full golf game in my life, and I’ve only ever played miniature golf, but it gladdens me to know that there are young women in sports like Paige Spiranac who put the needs of others before their own, and use the platforms they’re given to try and do good.

(via The Huffington Post, image via screenshot)

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