Let’s talk about how cyber harassment can fuck you up and affect your life outside of the internet and can all the while still be considered “legal” and “not real stalking/harassment”
Very true. I can personally attest to the fact that cruel words through an electronic medium can sting a person’s psyche just as bad as in-person words. Actually, online harassment can hurt even more, considering how words in text are right there, in your face, cold and unemotional, when in person the person can come across as unsophisticated or non-threatening.
This doesn’t really bother me as much anymore, I’m a grown man, I’ve been through a lot and dealt with a lot of really shitty people, and I know better. It still can make my heart race to receive a scathing email but I think I can manage my emotions a lot better now.
The thing about harassment, or bullying (both online or in-person), is that everything it entails are legitimate on-the-books crimes: harassment, terroristic threats, stalking. Even before vapid politicians passed bullshit “anti bullying legislation” to make themselves look empathetic and compassionate to do better in the polls, these were all crimes.
But what happens when a fragile teenage bullying victim goes down to the local police precinct to report some jerk who’s been harassing him at school, or on Xanga (it’s been a while since I was in high school, remember), or AOL Instant Messenger, or wherever? A cop will take the report (as he has to), sitting back in his chair just asking some curt, standard questions with a condescending look on his face, probably thinking nothing but contempt for this pathetic, bullied nerd who can’t deal with his problems like a real man. The police department will then send an officer out to the accused’s known address to ask him some basic questions, as a formality, and then the officers leave. Case closed.
Passing a law that creates a new crime called “bullying” does nothing to solve the problem, It just gives the cops one more crime to not investigate.
The heart of the problem is that the types of people who tend to become police officers are psychologically more similar to the bullies than the victims of said bullying. They sympathize more with the bullies than their victims because they think like them. If a victim was to stand up and retaliate and cause harm to their bully, and that bully went to the police to report that crime, the police would be more likely to follow though and make an arrest because the bully and the cop think on similar wavelengths. The bully knows just what to say to the cop to make the cop react, and the cop sees a little bit of himself in the bully.