Cyberabuse tips

As an advocate/expert (former IT consultant and software engineer) who is also a survivor of cyber-stalking, my advice to victims is as follows:

  1. Remember that you are not alone and are not weak for feeling scared or uncomfortable because of obsessive or harassing online behavior
  2. Trust your instincts when you feel that someone is being abusive and obsessive.  Don’t dismiss your gut feeling.
  3. Feel free to make it clear to anyone stalking or harassing you that you feel uncomfortable with his/her behavior and want to be left alone; Feel free to be RUDE!!
    • If things escalate, send a written e-mail or letter (non-emotional and non-blaming) asking the person to leave you alone
  4. If things escalate online and/or by phone, document evidence and dates of occurrence of criminal activities – create a timeline and paper trail.
    • Keep or subpoena phone records
    • Print or take screenshots of online activity
  5. File a police report, even in cases of anonymous online harassment – it is your RIGHT!
    • Go in person to the precinct and demand (nicely) to file a report
    • Take the evidence with you (see #4)
  6. Do not retaliate against your stalker/harasser; have “clean hands”
  7. Beware of conversations with mutual friends; Stalkers and harassers generally use them to obtain information about you
  8. Hire a lawyer, but only one that a) is a litigator and b) specialized in domestic violence and orders of protection
    • Do not hire a lawyer who is NOT a litigator
    • Do hire someone who specialized in criminal and/or family law
  9. Seek counseling to support you through the process
    • Cyber harassment is a psychologically damaging crime
  10. Know your legal rights always!!
    • Even if you have a lawyer or the police involved in your situation, you are your own best advocate and know your case better than anyone
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