© 2010, Change.org
Entire Article Taken From: http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/text_messages_one_more_weapon_in_abusers_arsenal
We know that being shouted at on the streets can escalate to violence. We also know that dating violence can lead to murder. So should we take it any less seriously when women are victims of “textual harassment,” or inundated by voicemails and text messages from spurned lovers and rejected exes? Isn’t it just one more part of the larger problem?
We’ve briefly looked at digital dating abuse in the past, and this week, the Washington Post reports that the issue isn’t going away. If anything, it’s getting worse for young women trying to maintain their independence in a time of unrelenting connectedness. Unlimited calling and texting plans make it simple for enraged boyfriends to harass their (ex-) girlfriends with constant threats, demands, and accusations.
The article also cites a recent federal survey that one in ten high school students had been hit by a dating partner in the last year. Couple the existing cases — which hold relatively steady, percentage-wise, when compared to previously reported rates of dating violence — with even easier access to your victim, and you have could have a pretty serious problem on your hands.
Texting is also seen as inherently private, so while slapping a woman in public would immediately draw attention, sending a hundred text messages may not alert anyone. If an abuse victim is already staying silent about the assaults she’s suffering, being overwhelmed by text messages may not do much to help her reach out to others. Instead, the symptom may not even be readily apparent. Is a couple dozen text messages in one day overkill for you? It sure isn’t for everyone.
The only strange upside to technological abuse is that it leaves evidence, as Cindy Southworth, founder of the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, explained. While many abusers may be skilled at not leaving bruises or engage in psychological intimate terrorism, menacing text messages can offer proof to other loved ones, as well as law enforcement. Protective orders can be filed, and sometimes, charges can even be brought against the abuser for stalking or harassment.
I had a boyfriend in high school who once called and screamed at me while I was at work. “Abusive” would have been a nice word to use to describe him, and I was thankful that while I stood cradling the receiver, frozen yet simultaneously shaking with fear, other people who cared about me walked over to find out what the problem was. This was a time before text messages; I can only imagine how out of hand it would have gotten if the guy had 24-hour access to me via SMS. But even though I never had evidence to go after him (not to mention a lack of willpower), I wouldn’t have traded text-based rants for proof. In the end, that simply isn’t a choice any of us should have to make.