Cyberstalking: A Form of Harassment Common, Difficult to Stop


Each year, 3.4 million adults are victims of stalking, and 1-in-4 has become the target of cyberstalking–threatening behavior or unwanted advances that use computer communications, Karen Baker of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center tells Women’s eNews. Eighty percent of stalking targets and 60 percent of cyberstalking victims are women. Forty percent of women have faced dating violence via social media, found a poll of 700 respondents, who reported that former dates had sent them harassing text messages, posted disturbing status updates about them on Facebook, and fired off angry messages or “tweets” about them on Twitter.

When police failed to stop a cyberstalker who posted threatening videos about her on YouTube, an Oklahoma woman decided to take technology into her own hands. “I’ve taught myself how to block people from social networking sites, monitor Google searches of my home address and take screen shots of online interactions so I have photographic proof of harassment,” she said. “This form of harassment may be especially difficult to stop,” says Michelle Garcia, director of the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime. “But it can be especially terrifying because harassers do act out the threats they make online.”

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