K rock Football

I was sexually abused: Harris

Tayla Harris in action for Carlton earlier in the AFLW season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

AFLW star Tayla Harris says she has been sexually abused on social media and wants action taken against those who vilified her.

Harris said on Wednesday she was repulsed by some online comments regarding a picture of her kicking at goal while playing for Carlton.

“The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable,” Harris told RSN radio.

“That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media.”

Harris called for the AFL and possibly police to take action.

“We can talk about this as much as we want but they (trolls) are not listening and they’re probably smiling about it, that we’re talking about it,” she said.

“So something needs to go further.

“If these people are saying things like this to someone they don’t know on a public platform, what are they saying behind closed doors, and what are they doing?

“These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but also taken further – maybe this is the start of domestic violence, maybe this is the start of abuse.”

The photo of Harris was published by, among others, the Seven Network on social media.

Seven deleted its post, citing “reprehensible” comments, but later reinstated the Harris photo and apologised after being criticised for giving in to online trolls.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said it wasn’t simply an issue for Seven, a broadcast partner of the AFL.

“It’s more a challenge with the platform, social media, because this is not an isolated incident,” McLachlan said.

“There’s negativity in lots of aspects of our game and the community.

“But when it’s unacceptable commentary, more and more people are calling that out and that is what has happened here.”

Adelaide’s Erin Phillips, considered the AFLW’s best player, was among a chorus of players and athletes from other sports to voice dismay at some of the online responses to the Harris photo.

“There needs to be more accountability with people that do have (social media) accounts,” Phillips said.

“There is a lot of trolls that get away with things that shouldn’t be allowed.

“But in saying that, what a fantastic response from the community to get behind Tayla.

“It has empowered her. And it has shown to the community, to Australia, that … it’s unacceptable to troll and put people down.”

© AAP 2019