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The Block

EXCLUSIVE: The Block’s Tanya hits back at online trolls that won't leave her family alone

''If you bully or troll people online it takes a toll.''

By Olivia O'Brien
Melbourne couple Tanya and Vito knew they were in for some heat following their part in this year's infamous cheating scandal on The Block.
But the mum-of-two tells Woman's Day she's "absolutely shocked" at "how bad" the backlash has been and says it's left her fearing for her family!
"We understand people were angry and many wanted to voice their opinion about us online.
The couple has had to weather online abuse after their fateful mistake. Channel Nine
"Unfortunately, when it comes to social media that's the nature of the beast [but] online bullies went that step further and contacted my agent, my friends and anyone I was associated with online," says the 39-year-old, who claims the couple have even received death threats.
"Some take the stance of, 'Well, they put themselves out there, they did it, so we have the right now to take them down.' Actually no, you don't!
"If you bully or troll people online it takes a toll on that person's mental health as well as their friends and family. It's dehumanising and absolutely not OK.
"Imagine the shame knowing you made a mistake and feeling like the whole nation now hates you."
"My children don't have social media but it will only be a matter of time till they see some of the things written about us." Channel Nine
But Tanya says her biggest fear is her children, Eva, 12, and Josiah, eight, being caught up in the ugliness.
"My children don't have social media but it will only be a matter of time till they see some of the things written about us," Tanya tells Woman's Day.
"We are a very close family. We have open talks about what is taking place, and it's actually been a great learning tool.
"We wanted to make our children proud. It was never about how perfect Mum and Dad are, look at how good we are or how much we won.
"It was more, 'Hey kids, sometimes we stuffed up but we were resilient, we stayed on course even when it became too hard and we rose above and kept going.'
"They are so proud of us. We feel like we've already won!"
However, Tanya admits there were times she worried they might not even finish the competition.
"I had to, at moments, beg Vito to stay. He was really struggling," she says.
"It was really difficult to see, especially as his wife.
"There has been a lot of coaching and pep talking, and almost feeling I have had to overcompensate to carry him through this to some degree.
"There were moments where he was like, 'I'm done'. But that's marriage!
"We have been married for 18 years and that's not by accident. We have each other's backs."
"We have been married for 18 years and that's not by accident. We have each other's backs." Channel Nine
And the reality star says the whole experience, good and bad, has only made their marriage and family – who she's lovingly dubbed her "Gucci gang" – stronger.
"We come from the most amazing supportive family who are just constantly surrounding us with love and we feel incredibly blessed.
My favourite quote is, 'We might not have it all together but together we have it all' and that is us in a nutshell," says Tanya.
"We thought we went on The Block to build a house, but The Block built us!"

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