The warning signs are there. The problem is that it has become too commonplace for us recognize it as being harassment. At a time when virtually everyone has a cell phone, or is in some way connected through one of many forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.), we can contact anyone we wish at a moments notice. There in lies the problem. Too many relationships have become accustomed to experiencing some form of digital harassment. Reading 82 titled, “Textual Harassment” brings to light several examples of digital harassment, all having devastating outcomes.
How many of us have experienced, or at the very least, know someone close to us who have been affected by this? An ex- boyfriend or girlfriend blowing up your phone time after time with what we may write off as just “annoying”. The fact is, this is harassment and too often this doesn’t end with the “annoying” text messages. In reading 82 by Donna St. George, there are some incredible examples of violence that all stemmed from the person being harassed not understanding that what they are experiencing is, in fact, harassment.
Personally, I’ve seen this sort of thing happen to many friends both male and female. A friend will receive text message after text message demanding to know where they are or who they are with. I even have some friends that are required to share their passwords to their Facebook account so their boyfriend or girlfriend can keep tabs on them. The point is, we all know jealousy when we see it or experience it but for some reason we don’t always see its potential harm when it occurs via Facebook, Twitter, or especially texting.
In the article, a father whose daughter was murdered by an ex-boyfriend made an excellent point. He offered a reason why it is so easy for this harassment to take place nowadays and why so many are victimized. He said, “when I was growing up, we had one phone in the whole house, and if you were fighting with your boyfriend or girlfriend, everybody knew about it.” The idea here is that someone who is being victimized (harassed, stalked, threatened) through texting or social media, is able to keep the harassment private which only worsens the potential outcome.
Bottom line: don’t simply discount these things as being “annoying”. Harassment is harassment