A striking photo of Tayla in full flight, doing her job as a WAFL player executing a marvellous kick, made media headlines. It showed a young, strong woman with incredible athletic ability, focussed intently on the goal. Most of us have seen this photo and will remember the story, even if you don’t know her name. The immediate reaction to the iconic photo was overwhelmingly positive, but soon the trolls and cyberbullies started their vicious attacks.
Tayla decided that she would stand up to them and fight for more responsible media management. Tayla is not someone to shy away from a fight! As the Australian super welterweight boxing champion and the Australian middleweight boxing champion she knows that strength and stamina are the key to victory. Tayla is also a superstar player for Carlton in the Australian Women’s Football League. And she plays in the ruck, which for the uninitiated means she is not averse to standing her ground and flying high.
Standing her ground and flying high are two things that Tayla absolutely did when she became the victim of sustained online sexual harassment. It wasn’t a pleasant journey, but Tayla drew on her moral strength and used her network of contacts for professional help and advice. Her actions drew support from a multitude of people and organisations, forcing change and challenging casual acceptance of online sexual harassment.
There’s more to Tayla’s story than just “the kick” though, and we get to see behind the scenes of Tayla’s rise from a young girl playing on an all-boy team to become a professional athlete in two different fields. There are plenty of photos (as you’d expect from someone who lives in the land of Instagram) including dogs, party dresses, fluffy chicks, trackpants, friends, family and of course, “the kick”. Information is cleverly broken into coloured boxes and other devices to make reading easy and fun.
Tayla Harris never thought she would write a book, or become a champion for anything like online harassment, but circumstances showed her a path she felt compelled to follow. This is an uplifting story of courage and moral conviction written by a young lady with a positive outlook and a purposeful approach to her life. As a high profile sportsperson she understands that she is a role model to many, and she takes that responsibility seriously.
This book is aimed at 12 to 18-year-old readers, but is also very useful for parents and grandparents as it contains tools for them as well, including what questions to ask and how to support a young person from the sidelines.