‘Textual Harrasment’ On The Rise

By Shedeiky Hamilton

She texts not once, not twice, but three times while he’s in the movie theatre.

He texts every 15 minutes until she gives him a response.

Some unfortunate souls can’t even get through dinner without someone who is pursuing them to make their phone buzz multiple times.

And so on and so on.

Textual harassment, not to be confused with sexual harassment (although sometimes they are related), is the act of using a mobile phone to bombard someone with unsolicited text messages of any nature, though usually social or sexual in nature.

According to last week’s story by the AP, “Stalkers turn to cell phones to harass in modern times.”

It stated that a college student had to endure months of online and cell phone harassment from an ex-boyfriend. She ignored the barrage of emails, changer number and closed her online profiles to avoid him.

Yet he quickly found the new number and texted again. The article stated that luckily for her, he found a new person to harass.

Trends indicate that textual harassment is on the rise, and people are opening themselves up to victimization by posting cell phone numbers on message board forums, social sites or exchanging them at a bar.

Through the vast development of technology and its many readily available forms of media, texting is more often appropriate for many, especially in discreet settings where talking is not allowed. When properly used, it can be useful for quick communication.

However this was not the case for 26 year old Anita Sharma, a law student and newlywed. The AP story told how she was confronted by her boss’s husband’s and was harassed for months.

“The first texts were about random things, but then it got creepy,” she said.

She claimed she was not able to sleep and did not want to tell her husband to jeopardize his job or make him think that she did something to encourage the attention. She resigned from her job due to the constant messages.

Users do not have to give up their right to enjoy their devices that they paid for, instead, the harasser can pay for the damages that they are causing. Individuals who are threatened by text messages should keep them and notify the police as evidence. They can also inform their carrier and attempt to block harassing numbers.

As for those that text often, learn the rules of proper texting etiquette.

Lengthy or over-detailed texts are usually found to be overwhelming by a receiver, so for discussions that are lengthy, turn to email. Texts should always be short and simple.

Second, the phrase “OK” is a worthless response and not required unless there is a problem.

Also learn when and where it is appropriate to text. At the dinner table or during a meeting is always frowned upon.

Always be respectful of the costs to those receiving the texts. Depending on the provider, texts can cost up to 20 cents for sending and receiving.

If people don’ reply in time, given they are busy or their phone is off, do not repeatedly ask for a response.

Lastly, texting repeatedly about a person’s whereabouts is often a first stage to textual harassment.