Cyber Stalking has its consequences
We've heard of cyber-stalking crimes. The stories are most commonly of young underage women taking naked pictures of themselves and adult men flashing them all over the internet, a middle-aged woman/man pretending to be child coerced a child to commit suicide via a chat-room, young adolescents duped into being raped molested by sexual predators via the internet. Are you getting messages from random men you've never met, threatening to rape/beat you(usually on orkut or in your email spam? Is your (ex)boyfriend/girlfriend humiliating you/himself/herself on a social networking site? Have you gotten more than a hundred messages from an angry 50-something year old man trying to convert you to atheism? Chances are, you have but are there consequences for cyber stalkers, who are not sexual predators (yet)?
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Anonymous blogger, better yet 'stranger' , mostly not reported on
Harassment and stalking of women online is common, and can include rape threats and other threats of violence, as well as the posting of women's personal information. It is blamed for limiting victims' activities online or driving them offline entirely, thereby impeding their participation in online life and undermining their autonomy, dignity, identity and opportunities"[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberstalking#Types]]
What woman has this 'not' happened to? And who reports on these things especially when it's a frandshipping facebook-er/Orkut-er? What follow are (under)reported statistics: [[http://www.erces.com/journal/articles/archives/volume2/v03/v02.htm]] "In the United States, one out of every 12 women (8.2 million) and one out of every 45 men (2 million) have been stalked at some time in their lives.
· One percent of all women and 0.4 percent of all men were stalked during the preceding 12 months.
· Women are far more likely to be the victims of stalking than men - nearly four out of five stalking victims are women. Men are far more likely to be stalkers - 87 percent of the stalkers identified by victims in the survey were men.
· Women are twice as likely as men to be victims of stalking by strangers and eight times as likely to be victims of stalking by intimates."
" Incompetent suitors tend to seek to develop relationships but they fail to abide by social rules governing courtship. They are usually intellectually limited and/or socially incompetent." The very fact that these people are dubbed 'Frandshippers' or equivalent means they aren't exactly receiving critical acclaim?
Unlike the eighties the trend in Hollywood is to justify stalking or treat it as normal
Back in eighties we had the very mentally manic stalker who was bent on killing or winning back her love or winning over the love of a strange woman s/he saw walking down the street. [[http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/34467822.html]] Today we have movies like 'Wicker Park' (full of stalkers but no attempts at murder or anything of the sort, there is a kind of acceptance that the hero and heroine, pretty as they are, are bound to be stalked by strangers and by each other) , "He's just not that into you" where the protagonist is a woman who Cyber-stalks all her old boyfriends or even people she met only once and thought they'd hit it off and in the end her bravery in love and finally winning over the bar tender who tried to fix reigns supreme. There is a thin line, a question between where men/women pursuing each other becomes stalking. It is accepted as common practice on dating websites but now social networking sites are also being treated as the same. Just look at my Wayn profile [[http://www.wayn.com/waynprofile.html?wci=view]], it's mostly men I don't know personally, who like my profile pic and since people I do know aren't generally on Wayn I've gone ahead and accepted their friend requests. Am I treading on unsteady ground? Aren't we all, as Zuck said, Privacy is dead. A thing of the past, chuck it.(at your own risk) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70PR5pinGs8]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVxZJR3Tqn8]]
Actually crazy murderous stalkers are still portrayed in film as they exist in real life. [[http://horror.about.com/od/horrorthemelists/tp/Fatal-Attraction-Thrillers-And-Horror-Movies.htm]]
"Specifically, victims should communicate that the contact is unwanted, and ask the perpetrator to cease sending communications of any kind. Victims should do this only once." It's not fair to people if they don't know they are considered stalkers and not wanton lovers and so on.
Follow these instructions if you're being stalked. [[http://www.erces.com/journal/articles/archives/volume2/v03/v02.htm]]
"The US department of justice and the National Center for Victims of Crime in United States suggests for the victims to:
Victims who are under the age of 18 should tell their parents or another adult they trust about any harassments and/or threats.
Experts suggest that in cases where the offender is known, victims should send the stalker a clear written warning. Specifically, victims should communicate that the contact is unwanted, and ask the perpetrator to cease sending communications of any kind. Victims should do this only once. Then, no matter the response, victims should under no circumstances ever communicate with the stalker again.
Victims should save copies of this communication in both electronic and hard copy for If the harassment continues, the victim may wish to file a complaint with the stalker's Internet service provider, as well as with their own service provider.
Many Internet service providers offer tools that filter or block communications from specific individuals.
As soon as individuals suspect they are victims of online harassment or cyber stalking, they should start collecting all evidence and document all contact made by the stalker. Save all e-mail, postings, or other communications in both electronic and hard-copy form. If possible, save all of the header information from e-mails and newsgroup postings. Record the dates and times of any contact with the stalker.
Victims may also want to start a log of each communication explaining the situation in more detail. Victims may want to document how the harassment is affecting their lives and what steps they have taken to stop the harassment.
Victims may want to file a report with local law enforcement or contact their local prosecutor's office to see what charges, if any, can be pursued. Victims should save copies of police reports and record all contact with law enforcement officials and the prosecutor's office.
Victims who are being continually harassed may want to consider changing their e-mail address, Internet service provider, a home phone number, and should examine the possibility of using encryption software or privacy protection programs. Any local computer store can offer a variety of protective software, options and suggestions. Victims may also want to learn how to use the filtering capabilities of email programs to block e-mails from certain addresses.
Furthermore, victims should contact online directory listings such as http://www.switchboard.com and http://www.whowhere.com to request removal from their directory.
Finally, under no circumstances should victims agree to meet with the perpetrator face to face to "work it out," or "talk." No contact should ever be made with the stalker. Meeting a stalker in person can be very dangerous (The National Center for Victims of Crime, 2003)."
Come internet cyber-stalking is embedded in our/global culture
Aubrey got me to sign for this couchsurfing website, it's been two years and I still have no idea how to navigate through this but there are thousands of people logged in and Aubrey used this site to stay with a family in Taipei. She's still alive. [[http://www.couchsurfing.org/]]
And then there's facebook, twitter, vimeo, Wayn and a zillion other places in which friends of friends become we've-never-met-friends. Come to think of it, I've never met anyone on Debatewise unless you count A.I who was only Londo to annoy me...
In sum, it's normal in this zeitgeist.
But there are rules, laws and regulations, even when we find internet friends we don't trust people to be our friends unless and until there is some reason to do so. Either way most crimes are committed by family members and people you hang out with, not by people you've never met. [[http://www.nccafv.org/spouse.htm]] [[http://www.lovefraud.com/01_whatsaSociopath/key_symptoms_sociopath.html]]
What do you think?