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The link between cyberstalking and domestic violence

For the men and women in Charlotte who’ve been the victims of spousal abuse, escaping those abusive marriages is a major step in guaranteeing not just their own future safety, but that of their children and extended families, as well. Yet simply leaving an abusive marriage may not signal an end to the threat of domestic violence from an ex-spouse. Often, the threat of abuse remains; it just may take a different form.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 80 million American adults have access to the Internet. Recent years have seen the virtual world become an assumed safe haven for those looking to engage in abusive activity. This includes the perpetrators of domestic violence who find that the extended reach of the Internet allows them continued access to their victims. Cyberstalking has become a major concern for those who’ve sought divorce as a way of ending the pattern of domestic abuse in their lives. The DOJ reports that women in particular are eight times as likely to be victims of online stalking by a former intimate partner as men. Information shared by the national advocacy group Survivors in Action through shows that the average period of online stalking between former partners typically exceeds two years. 

Ex-spouses engaged in cyberstalking use a number of different ploys to lure their former spouses into encounters. These range from impassioned pleas to meet together in hopes of reconciling to posing as old friends looking to reconnect. Whatever online methods they choose to pull their exes out into the open, abusers often have one goal in mind when doing so: to perpetrate further violence as a punishment for their spouses having left them. Thus, spousal abuse victims are encouraged to be cautious in their online interactions following a separation and/or divorce.  

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