Young professional changes her look to stop online harassment

Sydney, Australia - Like many other professionals, Sally Illingworth wanted to use LinkedIn for career networking and opportunities. Instead, her experience with the site turned into a constant barrage of inappropriate messages.

Sally Illingworth with blonde hair.
Sally Illingworth with blonde hair.  © Facebook/Screenshot/@sallyaillingworthX

But the Sydney businesswoman, who had been receiving around 30 lewd messages a week on her LinkedIn profile, found an unexpected way to make it all stop in the blink of an eye.

Illingworth was speechless when she realized that as soon as she stopped being blonde, the harassment stopped immediately!

The Australian has now spoken to the Daily Mail about her strange experience.

"It was a shocking reality that all I have to do is change my hair color and I can be treated fairly online," she told the newspaper.

Feeling frustrated, the marketing expert added: "I love having peroxide hair, but now I feel like I can't do that if I want to be taken seriously on a platform where I want to build my career."

LinkedIn responds to experiences of harassment

With this look, the daily harassment finally stopped.
With this look, the daily harassment finally stopped.  © Facebook/Screenshot/@sallyaillingworthX

The messages Illingworth received when she had bleached-blond hair ranged from crude pick-up lines to marriage proposals.

"I am not on LinkedIn to be known as the blonde girl, I am here to talk about work topics," the young woman said.

She still misses her old look to this day and is upset that so many treated her as a sex object.

"There are still days when I sit there and want blonde hair, but I go, 'no I am not going to do it because it will not draw the right crowds'."

Illingworth also said people often consider those lewd messages harmless, "but it can have a huge impact on their confidence and belief in themselves."

A LinkedIn spokesperson told the Daily Mail outlet they do not allow harassment or abuse on their platform.

"Our Professional Community Policies do not permit harassment, abuse, or other unwelcome communications, including romantic advances and sexually explicit content. We can and will permanently restrict members that abuse our policies."

Cover photo: Facebook/Screenshot/@sallyaillingworthX

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