What many people don’t seem to realize is that if you feel that you have been a victim of online stalking and harassment, there is something that you can do about it. Many people tend to think that because it is happening online there is nothing that can be done about it because the other person can be far away or you might not be sure who they are. But if you feel that you are a victim of online stalking and harassment then you need to take action and do something about it; the worst thing that you can do is to allow the threatening and abusive behavior to continue.
Here are some steps you should take if you feel that you are a victim to online stalking and harassment.
The first thing that you are going to want to do is going to be dealing with any unwanted contact that you feel is threatening or harassing. If you are receiving any kind of unwanted contact you need to make it clear to the person sending you the messages that you do not want him or her to contact you again. After you have sent the letter stating you do not want that person to contact you ever again, do not send any more communication. By sending more communication you are encouraging the behavior of the stalker.
The second thing that you are going to want to do is to make sure that you save all of the communications that you have received, as well as any that you have sent for future evidence. Be sure that you refrain from editing or alternating these communications in any way. When saving the communications you should save both an electronic and a hard copy.
Besides saving the communications between you and the cyberstalker you should also save any communications or notes that you have received from Internet system administrators and/or law enforcement officials.
You should also block or filter the email messages from the person who is harassing you. Most email programs allow you to block email from certain addresses and some email programs will filter out unwanted messages by automatically deleting them. You can also purchase computer software that deletes unwanted emails from certain addresses or that deletes emails that contain offensive words.
If you are in a chat room and are being harassed or annoyed you can block the person by clicking the ignore option or typing in the ignore command. In most chat rooms all you need to do is type: /ignore . This would be typed in the bar that allows you to post a message in the chat room, but make sure you leave out the brackets, otherwise it won’t work. But if threats are being made you should actually save all the information (screen shots are good ideas) and contact your local law enforcement agency. You can also contact the people who are in charge of the chat room or any other type of website. Many websites have a link that allows you to report any kind of abuse.
If you have asked the person to stop harassing you and they won’t stop, the next thing that you need to do is to contact their Internet Service Provider. Most all ISP’s have clear policies that prohibit the use of their services to abuse another person. The ISP will most likely try to stop the conduct with direct contact with the stalker or by closing their account. In order to contact the harasser’s ISP you are going to have to identify the harassers domain name (this is the name following the @ sign in an email). The best thing to do is to go to the ISP website to find out how you should go about filing a complaint.
You can also contact your local police department and inform them about the situation; be sure to include as much detail as possible. Depending on the case they might refer you to the state or federal authorities. If you are afraid to call your police department due to the threat of violence you can contact either a domestic violence hotline or your local woman’s shelter. It may be frightening to report such abuses, but taking action will go a long way in your healing process, as well as preventing others from suffering the same fate.