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After ignoring a couple text messages from him, I told him I was busy, but kept it polite. It was a close-up shot of him masturbating for ten seconds. And most importantly, it felt like a threat.“Unwanted sexual contact online—it’s something we take seriously,” said Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found 40 percent of adult Internet users have experienced harassment online, with young women enduring particularly severe forms of it.
Thirty-eight percent of women who had been harassed online reported the experience could be described as extremely or very upsetting to them.
According to Austrian intelligence, this form of cybercrime is on the rise across Europe, a phenomena Wayne May, founder of the UK website and support group Scam Survivors which aims to track down scammers as well as offering advice to victims, is familiar with.
May says that the number of people in the UK contacting his website has “exploded” with around 5,000 cases being handled in total in the past three years.
It didn’t take him long to ask me to send him a “saucy photo,” (his words) and it didn’t take long for me to tell him that just wasn’t my thing. Days later, Jennifer Lawrence and over 100 other women were exposed across the Internet. He sent me an almost full frontal—via Snapchat—back. I’m basically a Victorian, but I thought we might be able to find a happy medium in the modern era. Two minutes in, or perhaps when he asked me if I wanted to leave the restaurant and go take a bath together, I realized we were looking for different things.
I turned my cheek when he went to kiss me goodbye, and was pleased there would be no more penis pictures in my life. Department of Justice statistics suggest that 850,000 American adults—mostly women—are targets of cyber-stalking each year, and 40 percent of women have experienced dating violence delivered electronically.
The victim is then told to pay a sum of money or risk having the footage distributed online.“When gender and severe harassment combine, the results are especially stark,” writes report author Maeve Duggan. I deleted our contact history from my phone and blocked him. But for thousands of women, and some men, the consequences of online actions have been dire.Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old from British Columbia, Canada, tragically ended her life, citing two years of online extortion and cyberbullying from a sexual predator as the cause of her depression.Sometimes criticism and insults can escalate into more serious forms of harassment and cyberbullying.If specific threats are made against you and you feel unsafe, tell a trusted adult and report it to your local law enforcement agency.
However, after she deduces that the type of language the messenger is using is not the sort the real Alex would use, she realises that the messenger is an anonymous hacker.