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Cyberstalking – A Student’s Story

January 28, 2013

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netWho are the authorities more likely to believe? A respected professor or a female student with psychological problems? This scenario happens more often than not and is probably the norm. When college and university students are unwittingly caught up in online snares, who will they get help from or who will genuinely help them. One such student from the University of Washington fell headlong into such a situation.

From January 2010 through September 2010, I was retaliated against through sexual abuse and disability harassment by a University of Washington Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) professor, his family and staff through cyberstalking harassment. This professor and his wife, with their two, college-aged daughters, directed and enlisted participation from university students and staff as well as others not affiliated with the university.

This student naturally thought that the proper ‘Authorities’ would give her the assistance that would normally be given to a victim of any crime. At every turn she was given no help and on one occasion received contempt.

On September 18, 2010, I reported these incidents to the University of Washington’s University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO). I spoke with the UCIRO director. The electronic communication that I had saved and all the information needed to verify those involved were handed to investigators. The University of Washington did nothing. University investigators and the university police acted passively, downplayed the events that occurred and were careless to resolve illegal and unethical conduct by university employees who organized an attack on a student. Investigators spent more time arguing with me over the plausibility of my complaint rather than showing any concern for my safety, any interest in correcting the situation or a sincere effort to verify the information that was given to them.

Rather than walking away from the situation, this student tried to get resolution at higher levels by lodging complaints to people that normally we put our belief and faith in.

On December 15, 2010, I filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and I spoke with investigator, (Name). The U.S. Department of Education did nothing. Inaction by these individuals was in part the result of apathy, but also incompetence with regard to investigating online abuse. There were a number of University of Washington staff members, past University of Washington students and others who not only knew about the activities of this professor and his wife, but who were also bystanders and participants. When given the opportunity to come forward, these individuals did nothing. As a result, the University of Washington was not a safe environment for me to continue my education.

All attempts by this student to find someone without apathy and with a genuine concern for the plight of those in distress, fell to a teacher who had similar previous experiences.

By the time I was interviewed by the clinical psychologist, I had found only one person to whom I could explain my experience and [be met with understanding in return.] This single other person was a University of Washington instructor from one of my previous classes who had also experienced cyberstalking harassment as undergraduate and found similar difficulty when seeking help from authorities.

Online abuse and harassment investigations and justice have a long way to go before victims can comfortably feel certain that their complaints will be dealt with in the appropriate manner. With the advance in online capabilities and technology, ‘Authorities’ very much need to step up a few notches to make the internet a safer place.


Filed in: General

About the Author:

Christopher is an IT specialist with 30 years of experience in developing technology working with corporates and SME’s. Chris is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, as well as numerous certificate based qualifications in technology and application development. Christopher is the CEO of internetSOS - A project to help people learn how to protect themselves online.

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