LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – After weeks of online harassment, rape threats and insults, Caroline Criado-Perez struggled to eat, sleep or work, she told a London conference on cyber stalking and harassment this week.

British journalist and women’s rights advocate Criado-Perez spearheaded a campaign earlier this summer to put women on new UK bank notes after the Bank of England unveiled an all-male lineup of prominent candidates.

The campaign – which succeeded with the choice of Jane Austen as the face on the new £10 note – received a lot of media attention. As a result, Criado-Perez said, she became the target of numerous online threats, many of them involving rape and physical violence.

“I can’t still quite believe this has happened to me,” she told the audience at the conference organised by British charity Women’s Aid.  “The psychological fallout is still unravelling. I feel like I’m walking around with a timer about to explode, functioning just under boiling point and it takes so little to make me cry.”

Online stalking and harassment of women is a form of domestic violence that should be dealt with in the same way authorities deal with offline abuse, panelists at the event said.