Domestic violence is no light matter, regardless of where the abuse takes place. A new type of this behavior has become prominent in recent years, and involves online methods of stalking individuals in a domestic setting. Cyberstalking can open the door for a multitude of issues, especially given the wide range of social media platforms offered today. There may be many grey areas when it comes to this type of violence, but New York makes clear that the consequences can be both severe and lasting for all of those involved.
An incident that surfaced in recent news exposed a complex domestic situation between a police officer and his ex-girlfriend. WHEC News elaborates on the ex-girlfriend’s accusations of cyberstalking toward the officer, wherein she claimed that the officer, William Rosica, terrorized her through a series of online messages. Rosica allegedly used his keen police training in a negative way in attempts to dominate the woman, in what WHEC notes was part of a year-long scheme to inflict emotional damage. According to the report, the abuse began shortly after Rosica’s ex-girlfriend end their relationship. In addition to the emotional distress Rosica caused, reports show he also followed his ex-girlfriend only to send emails and texts to her detailing her own actions.
Many experts in organizations geared to prevent domestic violence fear that cases such as Rosica’s could lead to furthered violence. When it comes to the state of New York, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence outlines stalking and cyberstalking, noting that cyberstalkers need not be in close physical proximity to carry out abuse. Furthermore, cyberstalkers commonly invite other online users to join in stalking a particular individual. The OPDV also acknowledges that those in domestic situations have easier access to a victim’s personal information, such as bank accounts and confidential files–making the situation all the more serious.