Cyberstalking: A Frightening and Horrific Road to Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, this may be a story that may hit entirely too close to home. As you most likely know, domestic violence victims have one thing in common. They all share or have shared some kind of relationship with the individual who has placed them in fear. Truth be told, the act doesn’t always have to be physical. In fact, under New Jersey law, cyberstalking is considered a predicate act of domestic violence.
You may already have your own concerns. However, you may not even think you are entitled to some form of protection from the courts. After all, your body is free of visible signs of physical abuse. You are not covered with black and blue marks. Meanwhile, you haven’t been to the doctor to report the torture you live through every day.
Quite simply, you should know that you are not alone. Nor, are your fears unwarranted. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 14 out of every 1,000 United States residents has been the victim of some type of stalking. Meanwhile, one out of four victims reports cyberstalking. To top it off, most knew the person who was placing them in fear and actually had a one-time personal relationship.
What is Cyberstalking?
More than likely, you already have some idea as to what constitutes cyberstalking. The New Jersey Statutes offer some insight as to what stalking means in NJSA 2C:12-10. Additionally, it is important to note that stalking is considered a crime. In short, it involves a “course of conduct” that causes emotional distress. It may also be categorized as actions that would cause a “reasonable person to fear.”
So, what does this mean exactly, and how does it apply to domestic violence? First, the victim must be someone entitled to protection under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. You should review this article to see who may be eligible for a restraining order under the act.
Next, it might be helpful for you to review some examples of cyberstalking. If any of these stories have a familiar ring, you may want to speak with an experienced domestic violence attorney to determine whether you should seek a restraining order.
Examples of Cyberstalking
For starters, let’s begin with spyware that could be installed on your computer. You’ve taken all the precautions on your social media accounts. In fact, you are beyond confident that your Facebook and Instagram posts are set to private. Nevertheless, your ex-boyfriend seems to know about every picture you put up, as well as your use of Messenger services. How is that possible?
It might surprise you to learn that there are companies that pride themselves on hawking spy gadgets. In some cases, it could involve attaching a GPS tracker to your vehicle and getting email updates concerning your location. Other times, someone could put spyware on your computer.
However, technology goes even further. Believe it or not, a small USB memory stick can be inserted into your cell phone to recover all your emails, texts, and voicemails. Allegedly, one of the goals is to track cheating mates. Notwithstanding, it sure sounds a lot like cyberstalking.
Some unscrupulous cyberstalkers may use internet keyloggers to get into your email, as well as your social media and bank accounts. They may then wreak havoc by pretending to be you or contact you repeatedly.
Meanwhile, cyberstalking is not just about using technology to track you. It also concerns issuing threats or abuse utilizing some type of online contact. Furthermore, someone that is guilty of cyberstalking may even attempt to extort money. They may do this by threatening to post slanderous and compromising posts or photographs.
When it comes down to it, victims of cyberstalkers are often emotionally distressed. They are in constant fear that something bad will be said about them. Usually, they worry that their stalker will embarrass them or show up in person. In extreme cases, there is the overwhelming terror that they may fall victim to physical assault.
Cyberstalking is not only a crime, but considered a predicate act of domestic violence. In many cases, a restraining order is the only way to stop such terrifying conduct. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is committed to helping all domestic violence victims. We are compassionate and dedicated to seeking your protection. Contact us to see how we can help.