Windsor woman warns over Facebook amputee fetishists
- 9 June 2011
- From the section Berkshire
A Windsor campaigner has warned of the dangers of social networking after being targeted by men who are attracted to amputee women.
Charlotte Fielder, who was born missing a hand, has been awarded an MBE for her work helping people who are "limb deficient" with the charity Reach.
After signing up to Facebook, she found her profile image had been copied and posted on a pornographic website.
Her image was subjected to obscene comments by men attracted to amputees.
The image used was one of Mrs Fielder fully-clothed.
She said many women amputees she knew had been contacted by so-called "devotees".
Mrs Fielder, 47, said she joined Facebook in 2008 and used it to keep in touch with people she helps.
When speaking to a female athlete from the British Paralympic Team she discovered her image had been used for pornographic purposes.
She said: "The same thing happened to this Paralympic athlete. She said it almost ruined her career, because people kept using her images for these devotee websites.
"Most amputees want nothing to do with devotees, because they see us as objects."
Mrs Fielder said in her experience most female amputees had experienced their photographs being used by "devotee" websites.
She said: "There are men who target women with limb deficiencies, because it's their primary sexual attraction."
Mrs Fielder said most of the men who contacted her were based in the United States. Many pretended to have missing limbs and tried to contact her as friends on Facebook.
She said: "Facebook have told me to block them, but they just come back with a different name."
Mrs Fielder said she was particularly worried about the effect it might have on young women who were struggling to come to terms with the loss of a limb while growing up.
She said: "I'm a 47-year-old woman but younger girls aren't aware. These men are out there, they lie and pretend to be limb deficient to make friends with people.
"Teenagers with limb deficiencies have enough issues. It'd be like growing up with the biggest spot in the world on your nose.
"When I was young I'd always keep my stump in my pocket."
A spokesperson from Facebook said it had a policy that people should only add people they knew as friends.
It said people could adjust their privacy settings to prevent images being viewed.