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    Washington Post: Text messages become a growing weapon in dating violence

    The Washington Post reports on the use of text messaging by domestic abusers against their victims. In related news: A 2009 report about stalking from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that “Electronic monitoring was used to stalk 1 in 13 victims. Video or digital cameras were equally likely as listening devices or bugs to be used to electronically monitor victims (46% and 42%). Global positioning system (GPS) technology comprised about a tenth of the electronic monitoring of stalking victims.” Read more about the report here. Also, the National Network to End Domestic Violence has a paper about how abusers and stalkers use technology to control and harass their victims.

    The Post reports:

    It is all part of what is increasingly called “textual harassment,” a growing aspect of dating violence at a time when cellphones and unlimited texting plans are ubiquitous among the young. It can be insidious, because messages pop up at the sender’s will: Where r u? Who r u with? Why didnt u answer me? […]

    The harassed often feel compelled to answer the messages, whether they are one-word insults or 3 a.m. demands. Texts arrive in class, at the dinner table, in movie theaters — 100 or more a day, for some. […]

    Kacey Kirkland, a victim services specialist with the Fairfax County Police Department, has seen textual harassment in almost every form: Threats. Rumors. Lies. Late-night questions.

    “The advances in technology are assisting the perpetrators in harassing and stalking and threatening their victims,” Kirkland says.

    In the case involving the 22-year-old who received 758 messages from her ex-boyfriend — all unanswered — the harassment led to stalking charges and a protective order, Kirkland says.

    Harassment by text is only one facet of abusive relationships, which often involve contact in person, by phone, by e-mail, and through Facebook or other social networking sites. […]

    Textual harassment is getting more attention as concerns about dating violence mount. In the past several years, about a dozen states have passed or are considering laws to bring dating violence education into schools. […]

    In a recent survey, nearly one in four of those ages 14 to 24 reported that partners check in multiple times a day to see where they are or who they are with, and more than one in 10 said partners demanded passwords, according to a survey by the Associated Press and MTV.

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