How the Law Can(‘t) Help You with Online Harassment
Most of us use the internet to talk to friends and family that live far away, to watch a few shows, follow YouTubers, check out promotions, like the Casimba bonus code, and promote our business. Unfortunately, there are those that use the internet to cyberstalk, cyberbully, and threaten people online. Online harassment is a big issue, as many women don’t feel safe having an online presence anymore. What can the law do in such cases?
Let’s start by examining what online harassment means. For some people, it is relentless messaging and not taking no for an answer. For others, it is unsolicited photographs of genitalia, demanding nude pictures, and making death threats. Even if the threats are empty, there is nothing that can make the harassed and stalked person feel safe.
Before we continue, it is not just models, actresses, gamers, and workers in the adult industry that get harassed. It is also opera singers, scientists, politicians, and high-schoolers. The reason for them being a target? The fact that they are women.
The first thing that the public asks when the threats become public is something along the lines of “Why didn’t she go to the police?” First of all, the police are not always updated on the law and the proper procedures concerning cyber-crime. In fact, there is a worrisome lack of laws protecting the individuals’ safety online. Secondly, in the countries and states that do have these laws, the victims turning to the police are often transferred to civil court rather than a criminal one and vice versa. There is also the issue of the police filing a report and doing little else until the harasser, which may be a harmless troll or a violent murderer, makes a move.
Even if the case can be made, there is a very small percentage of people being convicted for such an act. Court cases cost a lot of money which most people can’t afford. Victims also do not want to draw additional attention to themselves, since, ironically, pursuing justice for the sake of their lost privacy and safety could cost them even more of it.
A restraining order seems to be an option worth considering until you realize that the only way to enforce it is to have a cop with you at all times.
Furthermore, it may be the final straw that turns the perpetrator violent. Turning vigilante and posting your stalker’s info online also doesn’t seem to reach the wanted result, as the attacker may be punished, but the victim can also face legal action for exposing another person’s private information, like their name and location.
What Can I Do Then?
Even if it’s useless, contact your police department and lawyer up. As tempting as it is to do so, do not delete the creepy texts and threats – document them instead. Discuss your legal options with your lawyer.
Do not engage your attacker. Block them and beef up your online security. Do not post where you are or where you are going to be. Finally, turn to activism to reform the laws of internet safety.