Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cyber harassment and stalking crimes affecting women.

By Abigail Clarke: Contributing Content Blogger

They say cyberharassment crimes affect men and women equally. Maybe this may have some truth to it, but I can’t help but disagree. When cyber stalking shakes out and the statistics are organised, I believe women suffer at the hands of male perpetrators far more. There was an article in the Japanese Times spelling out a case involving a 33-year-old woman living in the city of Zushi. She had repeatedly asked police for protection from her ex-boyfriend who had been stalking her online and making threats. Her pleas fell on deaf ears as police unbelievably even managed to leak information about her private whereabouts. What kind of rubbish is that to hand a victim? The ex-boyfriend lost his lid, tracked her down and stabbed her to death. Swing and a miss on police protection then.

Another case involved a man cyberharassing a young Japanese woman whose family pleaded with police to have him detained. The family was told nothing could be done unless an actual act of violence took place. Conveniently idiotic. The man broke into the girl’s home intending to confront her but not finding her there he turned on the family instead and killed them all. In this day and age it is not unusual for stalking activity to escalate online to the extent that the first physical confrontation is fatal. The outdated practice of police waiting for a physical acting out to occur before they themselves move to act is a crime in and of itself as far as my opinion reaches but irresponsible at least.

Nearly all victims stalked online in Japan are women and 93.2 percent of police officers are men. As a male policeman, if you haven’t experienced the mental and physical suffering that being stalked causes to women, it may be difficult to take it seriously. I have heard it's very common in Japan that police responses to cyberstalking reports are generally unenthusiastic and slow in following up. Fairness first, this isn't exclusively a Japanese police problem, the very same problem occurs worldwide. My point is cyberstalking is a problem – women are targeted more than men – and police forces whose ranks are mostly male, seem to have a somewhat casual dismissive response when it comes to women reporting their cyberstalkers. We should be paying attention to what is going on in Canada. They are on the verge there of passing legislation allowing police to identify and root out online stalkers, creating huge risk for stalkers in being found out. We need more up-to-date laws for police agencies everywhere so that they can be held to a standard of acting quickly and effectively to prevent the next victim of cyberstalking. Finally, police agencies need to acknowledge that women fall victim to cyberstalking much more frequently and that their concerns are valid. If police don't quit bugging out of the problem they'll be dealing with more murders alright.