Lifetime's 'Text To Kill' Didn't Happen In Real LIfe, But These Cases Prove Cyberstalking Is A Very Real Issue
Pretty Little Liars' A (whoever it is) isn't the only entity on TV that knows everyone's secrets and is out for teenage revenge. Lifetime's new movie Text To Kill, premiering Saturday night, takes secrets, lies, and revenge to a whole other level. In the movie, teenager Taylor starts getting chat messages from a username called "TRUTH&LIES," and according to Lifetime's description of the film, they claim to "know the truth." Suddenly, "TRUTH&LIES" starts sending similar messages to other people in Taylor's life. And there are plenty of real-life stories just like Text To Kill .
While chronicling our lives on the internet and social media feels like simple self-expression the prevalence of cyberstalking has made it dangerous. According to an article written by cyberstalking expert Alexis A. Moore for About.com, more than 1 million women are stalked annually and cyber-stalking victims tend to be women who are between 18-29 years old. In 2011, The Guardian reported that 40 percent of cyberstalking victims are men and the crime is now more common than physical harassment. "There have been threats to kill," psychologist Dr. Emma Short told The Guardian. "They give the impression that they know where their victims live and can get at them physically. There is a lot of damage to or loss of reputation, people being compromised by false allegations."
Sadly, there are many real-life stories in which people have been cyberstalked by a stranger — or someone they know.
According to a report from LocalMemphis.com, 17-year-old Cortez Bass began bullying Donterrius Jackson during a basketball game between the two, which then allegedly carried over to Facebook as death threats.
Witnesses claimed that one day, after the two teens had a tense argument, Bass shot Jackson in the head. Bass was charged with both murder and cyberstalking following the alleged incident.
Rejection In The UK
According to a report from the UK's Daily Mail, in 2009 a woman named Alexandra Scarlett rejected advances from Jason Smith, but he allegedly kept messaging her over Facebook and MySpace. After the messages became increasingly violent, Scarlett claimed she tried to block Smith, but he'd find a way around it.
This allegedly continued for two years, until Scarlett got a lifetime restraining order against Smith and he was sentenced to a year in prison.
It Even Happens To Cyberstalking Experts
Alexis A. Moore, cyberstalking expert and founder of Survivors in Action, noticed that her financial identity was slowly disappearing. As she wrote on About.com, she couldn't get gas with a credit card, which became a trail of canceled credit cards and false claims, until she realized she was the target of a stalker.
"I lost the ability to work," Moore wrote. "I lost my money and, even worse, my good credit history, which meant I couldn't move, get an apartment, get a car, get a loan, or find a job. I lost friends and the support of family. And after three solid years of torture and abuse, there was even a point when I lost the will to live."
At one point she suspected it could be an ex, but it could've also been a total stranger. Unfortunately, since it's real life, there is no easy resolution. But Moore did triumph over her cyberstalker and rebuild her life.
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