Cyberbullying and Domestic Abuse

"My main concern is my safety, because if he sends the wrong sex-crazed maniac to my house … and he forces his way in, who knows what could happen,"

In a recent story published by CBC News, an Edmonton woman who cannot be named for her own protection described the terror resulting from a bizarre harassment campaign launched by an ex-boyfriend. Over four evenings, the woman was visited by over thirty men, all of whom were drawn in by a series of fake profiles placed with online singles sites. The men who attempted to gain entrance to her home all report responding to proposed sexual meetups apparently orchestrated anonymously.  The ex-boyfriend, whom she described as a "very, very abusive man" had reportedly threatened to send men to her house if she "didn't do the right thing" and end the emergency restraining order she had taken out against him. While Edmonton police are still investigating, one spokesperson reported that the online site, Plentyoffish.com, is actively cooperating and the person responsible will likely be caught.  

With the rise of social media and online communications, cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment are becoming more common.  This seems to be especially true in domestic abuse cases as more and more abusers take advantage of anonymous postings to harass partners who might otherwise be protected by restraining orders.  Not that such restraining orders are necessarily providing sufficient protection for the estimated ten million American women victimized by a domestic partner each year.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.

           

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