Beauty queen Rachel Mbuki’s life changed for the worse when she encountered an Instagrammer who has made it their life’s mission to cyberbully her.
Not only that but also recruit fellow women and other Kenyans in the diaspora to continue spewing vitriol against Rachel.
Here is part two of the Mpasho.co.ke interview with the former Miss Universe on how her life was turned into a nightmare by her online tormentor.
Read part one of the interview to understand how it all started.
4. Cyberbullying is done by fellow Kenyans in the diaspora. The same people you would expect to have your back out there. How does that make you feel?
It hurts a lot. Especially seeing his biggest supporters being women. For some reason, people have such a fascination with seeing a woman being torn down.
I think it’s something African women as a whole face. When you seem happy and successful and empowered there’s always a desire in some people to want to take you off your high horse and show you you’re nothing special when all you’re trying to do is live your life and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
I have worked hard for everything I have and I always try to use my platform to help where I can.
5. What is the worst thing that has been said about you that very inaccurate and unnecessary?
Due to my ongoing legal case in both Germany and in America, my lawyers advised me that I cannot repeat the things said about me.
If I do, I’m putting them out there myself and therefore cannot claim I was defamed if I helped transmit it myself even as a defence of myself.
However, they were very hurtful things about my marriage, my husband, my mother, my sister and her husband and lots lots more. They really attempted to tarnish my character with stupid lies.
They tried to make everything about me appear to be a lie. Like I’m this sinister horrible human being. I’ve been a public figure since 2005.
A lot has been printed about me. If I was any of these things, people would have heard something by now. But because I’m a private person and keep to myself, they figured since I don’t talk about myself, they will tell my story for me and do it in the worst possible way.
6. Do you feel heard? Do people understand the magnitude of mental torture?
Finally for the first time I’m starting to feel heard. Last Tuesday on April 6, 2021, I finally had my last straw.
Recently they had recruited one other person, a Kenyan in America who joined them and lied that she knows me and my family personally then proceeded to escalate the lies to a new level.
She spoke of my deceased father, my mother and the rest of my family with such contempt and so many lies. A woman I have never met. I couldn’t believe it.
They then took to a new app called clubhouse where I had been growing a following to spread more malice to Americans about me.
They would go back and forth between there and Instagram. 5 adults sitting down on Instagram for hours tarnishing me so badly that their own viewers started turning against them because it was too much.
I stayed silent but finally had my final straw last Tuesday on the 6th. I was sent a nasty message being told that my private parts would be sliced like bacon then they would have their team rape me and kill me. It ended with RIP.
Something the bully has said to me many times. I took my frustrations to my Instagram and asked for how long was I supposed to keep dealing with these death threats.
I finally opened up and said what I had been through. How I was tired of acting like I’m strong and how this was truly affecting me and my young marriage and everything else.
I asked my followers to help me because I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I shared some of the things I have been dealing with. People were shocked.
They stepped up in a big way and started the #justiceforrachelmbuki hashtag and spreading awareness on Twitter and Instagram.
7. How do you deal with it?
I try my best to practice self-care and self-love and be extremely kind to myself. I watch the things I say to myself.
I speak to myself the way they do to me I won’t be long for this earth.
I also go to therapy once a week. I try to avoid social media as much as I can. I have some sponsorships that I have to mention as I’m paid for it but other than that I try to limit social media time.
I also deactivated my clubhouse app till all this is over. Basically, I try to protect my peace as best I can and lean on my support system.
When I feel down I reach out to my husband, my mom, my friend and especially those who know how this feels like my friend Nessy.
8. You have taken legal steps to stop it. Tell me about it?
When my attempts to resolve it with him behind the scenes didn’t work I was forced to seek legal action. For the bully in Germany, he first received a cease and desist from my American lawyers telling him to immediately stop.
He rubbished it and made fun it and said I had written it myself. He made obscene videos telling me to use it as toilet paper and other nonsense.
A couple of weeks later he received an even harsher cease and desist from my German lawyer in German. It told him of German law, how he was breaking it and what the consequences would be.
He sent two very nasty sexually explicit email responses to my lawyer (I mean who does that?) then proceeded to talk about it online and insult me further and even go as far as saying I wrote that one myself too in German.
We were dumbfounded.
It was at that point my lawyer bypassed police and forwarded everything to straight to the District Attorney at the Prosecution offices in Cologne.
We were informed that due to COVID things were a lot slower and that they had a 3-month backlog. We received a case file number a couple of months later and I have been receiving updates since.
So far the district attorney is determined to see him convicted as they continue to investigate and gather evidence.
He is also under investigation by German immigration for telling people that he defrauded the German government to achieve refugee status and encouraging others to do the same.
In America, I was granted a 1-year restraining order against the American woman that has joined them to defame me with lies and for the threats, she made against me that put me in danger. All threats to harm you must be taken seriously.
I also intend to sue her for defamation and slander after that. The things she said about my loved ones, especially my mother, were too much.
9. You have also rallied with other women to stop cyberbullying online. Tell me about it.
It all started when an incredible woman called Agnes “Nessy” Vorreiter spoke up for me. It’s what gave me the courage to start speaking out.
She called out all the unfair recent bullying and brought proof to show how unfounded it was on her Instagram platform.
That got people upset and wanting to see something done. At first, I told her she shouldn’t have said anything because I was doing my best to ignore things, but then the next day came the nasty message threatening my rape and death and I had enough and talked about it.
That’s when the #justiceforrachelmbuki started and women started rallying behind me. They wanted to know how they could help. Because the German case has been lagging.
They came together and emailed the Köln prosecution with my case number and told them of everything they had been seeing me go through for a year now and demanded they work faster on my case.
As for the restraining order, we were having trouble serving the Kenyan woman in America. I asked my followers for help finding her whereabouts and not only did they come through in droves, but I also found out she has several other victims here in the US that she has been horrifically bullying for years and who are also seeking legal action.
They were all slandered with hideous lies in much the same way I was and they said they didn’t know her either although she pretended to know them just like me. Now we are working together to see justice for us all.
10. What would you like to tell those bullies when they read this interview?
I am coming for your whole bullying ring one at a time and I’m not stopping. Right now I’m dealing with the ones in Germany and America, after that, I will be dealing with the one in Belgium and then the two in Kenya. That’s their ring.
Thanks to you bullies, people will know it’s possible to fight cyberbullying and you will know not to try that on anybody else.
11. What would you like to tell anyone else who is also being cyberbullied?
I have actually been talking about it a lot on my Instagram. The first thing that they should know is that they HAVE TO speak out and stand up for themselves.
Cyberbullying is different. Silence and ignoring only escalates it. I would also ask them to follow @Womenforwomenkenya on Instagram.
They are an amazing organization that is there to fiercely fight cyberbullying against Kenyan women. A rallying point for us all.
Lastly, I have been getting so many messages saying that my fighting is giving them hope and strength too.
So I would ask that they follow me @rachelmbuki as well as Nessy @nessy_vorreiter and join our #justiceforrachelmbuki campaign and tell us their stories as well.
We can all fight together to make it very unfashionable to tear women down on social media. When women are fed up and come together the world listens.
12. Has this cyberbullying changed how you interact online?
It absolutely has. I’m very distrusting of people online. I’m afraid of opening and responding to DMs like I used to. Now I’m very mindful of how I interact and I study people before I endorse them. Basically, I’m super cautious in everything I do now.
13. How has it changed your life offline too?
It has been a strain on my marriage, to be honest. I’m a newlywed. I’m supposed to be in my honeymoon phase. Instead, I have had to deal with intense cyberbullying all through.
No husband likes to see his wife sad and unhappy or angry. It’s also been gut-wrenching to see how my husband & loved ones have been slandered so terribly.
I feel guilty because I’m the public figure, not them. They did not ask for this. All of them say not to worry but I still feel like it’s my fault.
So it’s been hard but by the Grace of God, we are still standing and thriving. My husband has been my rock. I don’t know how I could have gotten through this without him.
Like when I had my suicidal thoughts last year; what if he hadn’t been there and jumped into action? Would I have made it? That’s why I’m fighting so hard for this to finally stop and for life to resume normalcy.
14. Anything else you would like to add?
Cyberbullying is a worldwide challenge that leads to grave consequences on one’s mental health. Just last year Carolyne Flack, a huge UK celebrity with all the success in the world committed suicide over cyberbullying.
We also can’t forget Sulli, a young singer and actress from South Korea who committed suicide in 2019 due to cyberbullying, leading South Korea to enact Sulli’s Law.
If you see anyone being torn down online please
1. Don’t join in
2. Don’t encourage it with silence
3. Condemn it right then and there so the bullies know it’s not being entertained and report the bullies as well.
Today it’s me. Tomorrow it could easily be you or a loved one. Not everyone is strong enough to make it out alive. Many women have written to me saying they would have committed suicide in my shoes because with all they deal with this would have been too much. Cyber bullying is not a joke.