An Australian man who created a Facebook page called “100 Biggest Sluts of Ballarat” could potentially face multiple charges of stalking. According to local police, 60 of the 100 women have been contacted by the police and interviews are being conducted. If charges are filed, the creator of the site would face one charge of stalking per victim, up to 100 counts.
The Facebook page listed the names of 100 women and girls from the town of Ballarat and made derogatory comments about them. Some of the girls were as young as 14.
In Australia, it is considered stalking if someone is “using the computer to offend or harass a particular person.” In the United States, online stalking behaviors can often tried as a federal crime because the information travels across state lines. Many states and college conduct policies include references to computers and technology in their stalking and harassment laws and policies. Depending on the nature of the behaviors, it is often tried as a felony.
For more information about stalking, visit the National Stalking Resource Center. They have some great information about state and federal laws, how to record stalking behaviors and a wonderful list of resources. Click on the image to the right for their brochure about stalking. It provides some great information about read flags. Pass this on to anyone you know that works with college students. Over half of stalking cases reported to the police in the United States are from individuals 18-26 years old. This crime is prevalent on college campuses and relevant to college-aged students.
Below is an excerpt from the University of Iowa anti-harassment policy.
- Harassment” means intentional conduct directed toward an identifiable person or persons that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with work, educational performance, on-campus living, or participation in a University activity on- or off-campus.
Evidence of harassment. Behavior that may be considered evidence of prohibited harassment, if it meets the definition set forth in paragraph a above, includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- repeated contact with another in person, by telephone, in writing, or through electronic means, after the recipient has made clear that such contact is unwelcome.
- physical, visual, or verbal behavior directed toward another person or an identifiable group of persons that is intended to be or is reasonably likely to be interpreted as threatening or intimidating. Behavior that constitutes speech is included within this section only to the extent to which it has a direct tendency to incite an immediate violent reaction in a reasonable person or to place a reasonable person in fear of imminent physical harm.
- harassment proscribed by the Iowa Criminal Code, Chapter 708, including, for example, stalking (708.11), the placement of simulated explosives (708.7), ordering merchandise or services with intent to annoy (708.7), or false reports to police (708.7).
To view the entire policy please visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~our/opmanual/ii/14.htm