It seems that these days, no one is safe from cruel comments. Not even the stunning Olympian and retired skiing superstar named Lindsey Vonn. The statuesque athlete, 36, just revealed how hard she has struggled with confidence and self-image since she has been the target of body-shamers online.

After Lindsey posted a couple of bikini pictures from her 36th birthday getaway in a tropical location, she confessed that “it is scarier than it seems.” In fact, in a lengthy caption, she went on to say to admit that the criticism “sometimes hurts me.”

Lindsey’s Facebook post with a powerful message received 57k reactions and 4.1k comments, with people praising the athlete for opening up and spreading some much-needed body positivity.

The skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn has recently become a target of cruel body shamers

Lindsey responded with this lengthy Facebook post and inspiring message of body positivity

Even though Lindsey’s post is an opportunity to celebrate a strong, independent person who doesn’t allow anonymous haters to feed artificially simulated insecurities, this whole situation is yet another example, another tip of a really worrisome iceberg. The iceberg is also known as online culture which, as this story illustrates, is full of verbal abuse and violence. And to be more precise—violence against women.

It takes many forms, but online harassment is one of them. For example, according to a fact sheet released by the European Commission in 2019, 1 in 10 women in the European Union has experienced online harassment.

And since then, as COVID-19 has gripped the world, the intensity of online abuse towards women has far from decreased. “Online violence is a public health issue and the effects are very detrimental. It results in physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm, and erodes self-esteem,” says Cecilia Mwende Maundu, a broadcast journalist and a specialist in gender digital safety.

To fight it, we must keep on addressing the issue and analyzing similar cases in order to stop the ongoing normalization of online anonymous hate accelerating in any form. As M. Maundu adds: “First, we need public awareness. Even when I talk to my friends, many of them say online violence is no big deal. People need to understand this is real; that it’s real violence with real impacts. And sometimes it moves from online to offline.”

Therefore, cheers to Lindsey for being strong and showing everyone an example of how not to let these parasitic trolls thrive on making people feel bad. But the battle is not yet finished.

The athlete also shared snapshots of harsh comments shaming her appearance

Image credits: Lindsey Vonn

And people praised Lindsey for putting it all out there