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The CyberStalker has an obsession. His obsession is YOU. He wants for you to be afraid, very very afraid. He starts with scary e-mails or frightening messages in chat. Then he escalates to scaring you on the phone, and abusing your associates when they pick up the phone at work. One day soon, he will be the knock on your own front door ...
by Ted L Glines
I recently reviewed a case where a lady was being cyberstalked by a man in Florida. I saw a few of the e-mails he had sent to her. The content of the e-mails -- abusive and threatening and very sick. He even threatened to create a Website showing her naked and including her phone number. His e-mails kept on coming no matter how she tried to disengage, and then his action escalated to calling her on the phone and calling her at her work number, verbally abusing anyone who answered the phone. She was afraid that he would cause her to lose her job.
Of my law enforcement associates, 100% would see the Florida predator as a “dirt-bag” and they would not hesitate to apply the cuffs. But she, like most people, never thought to take her complaint to available law enforcement agencies. And, believe it or not, many law enforcement people would think that there is nothing they can do because they are not aware of the cyberstalking laws.
Is the above unusual? No. In my normal rounds as a social worker ...
I was able to do a minimum of tracking from the offending e-mails from this Florida man. His IP address revealed that his e-mail subscription (ISP) was with AT&T (Southwest Bell), and that meant that his telephone account was likely at the same address. This opened the feasibility of canceling both his e-mail account and his telephone account. This case was very old and all of the above was probably accomplished. People like this can be stopped. See HaltAbuse.org, linked below.
There are those who say that criminalizing cyberstalking is interfering with “freedom of expression.” I say this to them: the “freedom” ends before the “expression” becomes threatening or abusive or frightening to the victim. Expression which is frightening or hurtful should be treated as an act of terrorism. Indeed, such expression is terrorism in its most basic form, and it deserves to be criminalized to the fullest extent of the law. I cherish the ideal of freedom of expression, but let us have some common sense, here.
In America, most states have passed laws criminalizing cyberstalking and electronic harassment. Our federal government has passed legislation making cyberstalking a crime. Even Australia has a law against cyberstalking. I mention this only because the lady first mentioned above lives in Australia. If her location poses a jurisdiction problem, this can (and will) be solved.
The bottom line is this: There is real help for you, or for someone you know, if a cyberstalker is having his way in your life.