Cyberstalking Stories! How Real Is Cyberstalking And What Can Be Done About It?
It seemed like an innocent Facebook message from a former college classmate, but one that left Kristen Pratt fearing for her life for several months. She is in her early 20s, and like other women her age, she is active on social networks. Patrick Macchione made contact with her for the first time in 2009, several years after they were classmates at the University of Central Florida. She thought he was just someone who was trying to catch up; only to find out later that he would be stalking her online through emails, texts, and online videos.
Macchione was able to contact her even after she changed her phone number. He bombarded her with messages on her Facebook and Twitter account. He also uploaded 27 YouTube videos all directed to her, telling her he loved her, which later on turned into threats after she ignored him. Pratt filed an injunction against Macchione but he continued to harass her online. Although Macchione was arrested and jailed for four years, Kristen continues to live in fear and believes that she may no longer get rid of this fear for the rest of her life.
Kristen’s story is just one of the many cyber stalking stories that have recently made the news. Stalking can happen to any person of any age and gender. Statistics revealed by the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center state that one in six women compared to one in nineteen men have experienced stalking in the U.S. alone. Victims are usually in their teens and the stalker is often someone they know.
Cyber stalking stories, Cyberharassment and Cyberbullying
Also called cyberstalking or cyberharassment, cyberbullying a new form of bullying that reflects the double-edged nature of modern technology. Cyberbullying has become a pervasive problem for the society because nearly every adolescent in the United States is connected to the Internet in some form or another and at risk when it comes to being bullied online. This is why almost all states have now enacted laws against cyberstalking or cyberharassment which punishes anyone who uses electronic forms of communication to harass or threaten another person online.
The NCSL explains that although cyberbullying is also a form of online harassment, it must be treated and discussed distinctly from cyberstalking or cyberharassment because it is “harassment or bullying among minors within a school context.”
Cyber Stalking Stories : What Motivates A Stalker
Various stalking stories reveal different profiles of stalkers, but there are some similarities on what usually motivates them to engage in this behavior. It is easy to assume that the primary motivation of stalkers is sexual when considering that the majority of the victims are women. The stalker often has a fixation on the victim and can resort to stalking behavior as a result of rejection or abandonment by the victim.
Profile studies of stalkers done by Dr. J. Reid Meloy, editor of The Psychology of Stalking, also reveal that stalkers usually tend to have relationships that are sadistic and controlling.
Meloy says that some stalkers are also psychopaths who are biologically predisposed to antisocial activity and have little or no empathy towards their victims.
What Can Be Done About Cyber stalking stories
Some universities, such as the Cheyney University of Pennsylvania now have strict cyberstalking and cyberbullying policies posted on their websites. Students who are caught harassing or threatening another student through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, or via email and text messages can be “suspended, expelled, and/or arrested for such acts.”
- Tell the online stalker not to contact you again. If he or she has engaged you in a chat and issued threats online, sign off immediately and stay offline for at least 24 hours.
- Do not reply to emails, private messages, or text messages sent by the harasser since this will only encourage the behavior. If threats are issued via email, make a complaint to the harasser’s ISP (Internet service provider).
- Consider changing your online identity or removing all personal information on your profiles that are posted on social networking sites. When using Facebook and other social networking sites, set the private settings higher to prevent a cyberstalker from finding you. Do not accept friend invitations from people you do not know.
- Keep a record of all files pertaining to the stalker in case you need them for evidence later.
- If you feel you are in any form of physical danger from your online stalker, report the matter to the police immediately. Tell friends or family members about incidents that are causing you fear.
No one deserves to be under the mercy of a stalker. Although each of the stalking stories that you hear everyday is different, one thing common among them is that you can never predict who will turn out to be a stalker. It can be someone you know – a friend, a former boyfriend or girlfriend, a classmate, or a coworker who has an infatuation for you. The important thing is to know what you can do in case you become a victim of a stalker.
Stalking stories reveal the horrific traumas behind stalking. stalking stories and cyber stalking stories need to end!
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