Why ‘pathetic’ trolls won’t silence Harris
Female footy trailblazer Tayla Harris has vowed to keep calling out "pathetic" online trolls and encouraging women to stand up for their rights after joining an anti-violence charity.
The Carlton AFLW star will be announced as ambassador for children's and women's violence group Our Watch on Thursday and told the Herald Sun she would use the role to crusade for change.
"To be honest, I think my role as a role model means more to me than laying a clean tackle or kicking any goal," she said.
Harris revealed she had turned to the charity when she became the target of vile online abuse over a now iconic photo of her kicking for goal.
Now she wants to help women and kids facing their own troubles and hopes to inspire girls to stand up to bullies and realise they can do anything.
"It was initially confronting and uncomfortable and I wasn't ready for it,'' she said of online abuse she copped.
"But the second I got myself together and realised it was an opportunity, that it was something I was actually really using as a vehicle to drive change, it's great to push back against that pathetic behaviour.''
Harris, who will tell her story via a life-size hologram in the revamped Australian Sports Museum at the MCG, hopes females of all games would follow her lead to "be yourself and stand up for what you believe in".
"After what happened in March last year, my first point of call was Our Watch so it kind of makes sense,'' he said.
"It was something that I wanted to do after the incident - I wanted to have some sort of involvement with an awareness organisation and this was certainly the one.''
Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly said the footballer and boxer had "chosen to use her platform to call out the sexist abuse she experienced and label it as violence against women".
"The leadership Tayla showed off the field in response to the misogynist trolling was exceptional and should be remembered alongside her achievements on the field,'' he said.
"We know that violence against women occurs on a spectrum and that it starts with kind of disrespect Tayla experienced, such as the attacks on her ability to play footy and the blatant sexual objectification.
"As a society, if we allow disrespectful comments and jokes about women to go unchallenged, we are excusing and condoning those attitudes and behaviours."