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Please note that this guide is for informational purposes only. We are not able to counsel stalking victims. Online harassment may involve threatening or harassing emails, instant messages, or posting information online. It targets a specific person either by directly contacting them or by disseminating their personal information, causing them distress, fear, or anger. Cyberstalking is a type of online harassment that involves using electronic means to stalk a victim, and generally refers to a pattern of threatening or malicious behaviors. All states have anti-stalking laws, but the legal definitions vary. Some state laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim.

In California, both criminal and civil laws address stalking and online harassment. According to the criminal laws, a stalker is someone who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another victim and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place the victim or victim's immediate family in fear for their safety. The victim does not have to prove that the stalker had the intent to carry out the threat.

California Penal Code California Penal Code m. Additionally, it is illegal to make credible threats by means of any electronic communication device, including but not limited to telephones, cell phones, smart phones, tablets and computers.

Another law makes it a crime to use an electronic communication device to distribute personal information of another person without their consent, and with the intent to harass them or cause them fear. There are more severe penalties when the stalker pursues the same person in violation of a court restraining order, with a sentencing range of two to four years imprisonment.

Persons convicted of felony stalking also face stricter penalties if they continue to stalk their victim s. Courts may issue restraining orders to prohibit stalking.

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California Family Code A victim, family member or witness may request that the California Department of Corrections, county sheriff or the director of the local department of corrections notify them by phone or mail 15 days before a convicted stalker is released from jail or prison.

The victim, family member or witness must keep these departments notified of their most current mailing address and telephone number.

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The information relating to persons who receive notice must be kept confidential and not released to the convicted stalker. See Civil Code When stalking occurs in the workplace, an employer can request a temporary restraining order or an injunction on behalf of the employee who is a victim of stalking.

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California Code of Civil Procedure Victims may also request that the California Department of Motor Vehicles DMV suppress their automobile registration and driver's license records from being released to persons other than court and law enforcement officials, other governmental agencies or specified financial institutions, insurers and attorneys.

California Vehicle Code It is prohibited for anyone to knowingly publicly post the personal information of a stalking or domestic violence victim with the intent to put them in danger or in fear of danger. Many other states also have confidentiality programs that allow victims to suppress personal information.

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It is a crime to take explicit photos or videos of another person and distribute them in a way that is intended to cause emotional distress. If the victim is a minor, or if the perpetrator has previously been convicted, the punishment is more severe.

California Penal Code jk. Unauthorized Information: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act creates civil and criminal liability for a person who obtains any information from any internet-connected computer without authorization. An additional civil and criminal remedy exists for those who access a computer with the intent to defraud. Copyright Infringement: Victims of nonconsensual online publication of intimate photographs or videos revenge porn may bring a civil suit for copyright infringement if the victim is the person who originally took the picture, and is thus the copyright owner.

Who Is Affected? What Is Online Harassment? Cyberstalking Stalkers can use the anonymity of the Internet to commit their crimes. Some examples of cyberstalking include: Sending manipulative, threatening, lewd or harassing emails from an assortment of email accounts.

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Creating false online accounts on social networking and dating sites, impersonating the victim or attempting to establish contact with the victim by using a false persona. Posts may also be lewd or controversial - and result in the victim receiving numerous emails, calls or visits from people who read the post online.

A few of the ways this can be accomplished include: Hacking your account Creating a false profile and sending a "friend request" or "follow request. Verify with your friends and family members that they own the account before accepting the request.

Gaining access to the accounts of your already-established connections such as Facebook friends or Twitter followers. If you decide to continue to use social networking sites, here are a few tips to help keep you safe: Take advantage of privacy settings.

With some social networking sites, you may be able to make your profile completely private simply by checking a box.

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With others, such as Facebook, privacy settings can be complex to navigate. Take advantage of added security settings. One of the best examples is two-factor authentication. When you enable this, your account will require you to provide something you know like a password with something you have like a specific device. Therefore, if someone gets your password he or she will not be able to log in to the account without the specific code that the service sends to your device.

L imit how much personal information you post to your accoun t. Amy fought back, screaming at him to stop touching her and take her home.

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Amy got out of the truck, and Paul drove away, leaving her stranded and alone on the trail at night. Amy met Paul on the popular online dating site Plenty of Fish. Online dating websites and the mobile apps that followed have made dating and hook-ups more convenient than ever. But conversations have emerged about how toxic these spaces can become for women and marginalized people.

The technology makes it easy to forge meaningful connections with people-and to mistreat them. Using accounts on different dating apps and swiping on users across the country, I searched for people who wanted to share their experiences with sexual harassment. But sexual harassment and assault are social problems-and a culture shift is required if things are ever going to get better.

Online harassment may involve threatening or harassing emails, instant messages, or posting information online. It targets a specific person either by directly contacting them or by disseminating their personal information, causing them distress, fear, or anger. Creating false online accounts on social networking and dating sites. Harassment is 1) a pattern of unwanted contact that robs the survivor of privacy, and the ability to relax and feel safe, or 2) a pattern of interfering in the survivors relationships with others. In harassment, no individual piece is a crime or assault. For instance, if John feels cheated, suing Mary once is not harassment even if his case is. Nov 30,   - - As the popularity of online dating apps soars, a high number of women are reporting that they experienced sexual harassment on dating sites. A startling 57 percent of women and 21 percent Author: DAISHA RILEY.

Online dating websites like Plenty of Fish and OKCupid have been around since the early s, initially functioning as classified ads for potential mates. Tinder took to Twitter to accuse Sales of unfair reporting.

Identifying harassment, however, is complicated by the fact that many users overtly seek out sexual experiences. Divergent user preferences-for hook-ups, for long-term relationships, for one-night stands-can result in unpleasant interactions when expectations collide. Anecdotal evidence seems to support these findings. Bridget, who goes to college in P. When Bianca, from Outaouais, Que.

The fact that some men treat women like sex objects is not exactly groundbreaking. But the internet can provide a separation from reality that emboldens users to say things they would never even consider in person.

Aug 22,   Alexandra Tweten was in her 20s when, like thousands before her, she signed up for online dating. She was just looking for a decent guy. What she also found was a world of abuse and harassment as. ABOUT TEEN DATING VIOLENCE. Being a teenager is exciting, challenging, and confusing. Dating is one of the most awesome things about being a teen. Your teen years are a time when you find your place in the world, and are faced with a lot of challenges. Although dating can be fun and exciting, it can create issues. Mar 06,   Gender differences in perceived harassment on dating sites. Men and women who have used online dating sites and apps hold somewhat differing views about how widespread online harassment is on these platforms, according to the most recent survey. For example, while 32of female users say people being harassed or bullied is a very common.

Most users can brush off an offensive message or two, but faced with relentless or vindictive advances, the impact can be severe. Repeated unpleasant interactions can also provoke defensive changes in behaviour. After numerous men sent one woman I spoke to lewd comments about her breasts, she self-consciously cropped the pictures on her Tinder profile so that she was only visible from the neck up.

What Would You Do: Female bartender is sexually harassed by manager

Victim-blaming is a common facet of harassment. Fed up with what she perceived to be toxic user culture on Tinder-and in tandem with a sexual harassment lawsuit she launched against the company-co-founder Whitney Wolfe left the app to forge her own path.

Her brainchild, Bumble, is a self-proclaimed feminist dating app: It gives women the exclusive ability to start conversations with their matches.

Alongside other policies and campaigns, the company has also proven impressively willing to publicly shame harassers on their platform. The efforts of apps like Bumble recognize something important: Though dating apps can facilitate harassment, they can also help stop it.

Because men on Bumble wait for women to make the first move, they might think the women who do so are looking explicitly for sexual encounters-which is why Lena believes some men have been aggressively forward once she reached out to say hi. When users log onto dating apps, they do so without shedding their pre-existing conceptions about how the world works.

Bianca told me that her negative reactions to unsolicited advances have sometimes caused men to blame her for their own bad behaviour.

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What do you expect? The wonderful thing about apps like Grindr, Adshade points out, is that they can help marginalized people connect with one another in a way that may not be possible in real life. Simultaneously, marginalized people can find themselves particularly vulnerable targets for online perpetrators.

Harassment is any unwelcome behavior or comments made by one person to another. Sexual harassment is a term usually used to describe unwanted sexual contact or behavior that happens more than once at work, home, or in school. It includes any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors that affect a person's job, schoolwork, or. Mar 11,   Sherry Gaba helps singles navigate the dating process to find the love of their lives. Take her quiz to find out if you're a love addict, sign up for a minute strategy session, or learn more about how to get over a break-up. She maintains a private practice in Westlake Village, and is a sought after online dating and relationship coach. Feb 29,   Opting into dating isn't the same as opting into being treated as a sex object." After dealing with too many harassing messages-like near .

Users on dating apps can direct bigotry toward queer, racialized, or disabled people by pestering them with offensive comments or questions, ultimately making the platforms more difficult to navigate for people who experience multiple forms of oppression.

Four women who identify as lesbian or bisexual told me about being constantly pressured for threesomes by both men and women on dating apps. Transgender and non-binary people are also frequently sexualized and targeted with intrusive lines of questioning.

Much of the harassment marginalized people experience online mirrors what they go through in real life. Some users I spoke to felt they were regarded as inferior, which in some cases has led to them feeling excluded from the dating scene altogether.

But when people mistake her as white, they treat her with much more respect. Kristen, who lives in Brampton, Ont. On dating apps, she gets intrusive questions, like whether she uses a wheelchair or needs a hip replacement; in real life, people just stare.

If dating apps already struggle to control behaviour on their platforms, it can be virtually impossible to intervene when users go offline.

Dating harassment

Amy is far from the only person I spoke with who experienced or was threatened with assault. Though Joe filed a report with the police, he ultimately decided not to press charges. Inthe Vancouver Police Department VPD launched a public safety campaign focused on online dating and alerting the public of ways to avoid dangerous situations. Adshade has publicly criticized that campaign, as many of the situations the VPD highlighted-including a woman who met her romantic partner online and later found out he had HIV-could just as easily occur when people meet in person.

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A week after I spoke with one of my sources, she emailed me out of the blue. After one of her matches sexually assaulted her, she finally decided to delete Tinder. Could Plenty of Fish really have prevented someone like Paul from assaulting Amy?

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