In the last decades the internet has become deeply embedded in our lives. Although online spaces tend to be perceived as safe and equal, the reality is that many forms of violence against women have been transported to these spaces, and stalking is not the exception.
Increasingly we see stalkers use the internet to track, intimidate, harass and abuse women. This is known as cyberstalking. From unwanted social media messages and comments to getting your online accounts hacked, there are many ways in which you can be cyberstalked.
Last year we launched FollowIt App, a mobile app that helps women keep a record of stalking. The logs can be used to build a picture of the stalking and it can assist you in reporting the situation to the police, if you wish to do so.
In this blog we explain some ways in which you can use FollowIt App to record cyberstalking.
Our app gives you the option to upload photos and videos. This way you can create a visual record of what’s happening to you. Some of the things you can screenshot are:
The impact of cyberstalking (and online abuse in general) should never be minimised. We know that cyberstalking, like any form of abuse, has real-life consequences for women. It can cause distress, fear, anxiety and make you feel unsafe or unable to do your usual activities.
FollowIt App gives you the option to describe the feelings you experienced as a result of the incident and the ways in which it is affecting your wellbeing.
In the app you can include details about a stalker to make a connection between him and the incidents you are recording.
Stalking is a form of abuse and in Scotland it is considered a crime, whether it happens online or not — it only takes 2 incidents for the stalking to become criminal.
We recently wrote a blog about stalking and the law in Scotland, where we share some insights on accessing justice when you have been stalked. Our legal guide on reporting stalking to the police is also a handy resource with lots of useful information about your rights and what to expect.
If this is your experience, at the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre we can offer free legal and practical support to any woman affected by this or other types of violence and abuse. Call our helpline to speak to our solicitors and advocacy workers on 08088 010 789.
Rape Crisis Scotland – call 08088 01 03 02 for emotional support
Suzy Lamplugh Trust – Call the National Stalking Helpline for emotional and practical support on 0808 802 0300
The Cyber Helpline – The Cyber Helpline has a range of guides to help when your online security has been compromised, including information after your accounts have been hacked or if you’re being blackmailed.
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