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09/30/2002 Archived Entry: "Learning more about internet harassment"

The commitment to explore my own harassment rather than ignore it is already leading to interesting encounters.

One of them was/is with a moderator of a high-volume Yahoo site who is fast becoming an expert on tracking ISPs and other aspects of dealing with harassment. His knowledge is born of necessity as there seems to be a concerted hacker attack on any site that questions certain foreign policy stands. Apparently two individuals are behind the attacks which can result in thousands of messages being delivered to one email address. In the moderator's case, it is tens of thousands. The goal of the hackers is to make discussion impossible by flooding the addresses of anyone on a list that deals with the "objectionable" politics.

Harassment assumes so many forms these days, especially over the Internet. I have not yet found a good analysis or even a good fictional treatment of the problem. Certainly, the movies about being stalked over the Internet are wildly inaccurate. Moreover, eveyone who tries to address the problem seems to have the same solution: more law. There has to be a way to handle the harassment without appealing to police and courts. If there isn't, then police and courts will become the inevitable solution because too many people are experiencing real difficulties.

As for my own writing on the issue...I think I think I have been both too broad and too limited in my thinking re: "the chronicle of the women."

Too broad because there are just too many women I might have to include. Yesterday, I talked to the woman who followed in my footsteps right into the abuse. We talked of her mother and I remembered the generosity her mother had showed to me over a year ago. (I had contacted the mother in order to get some current phone numbers.) The mother and I spoke for two hours straight, without a pause. I was amazed at the trust she placed in me by speaking with such candor about her experience of quite literally, physically rescuing her daughter. The list of women is daunting.

"The chronicle of the women" is also too narrow because it is unfair to exclude men. For example, when I needed to set up legal protections some years back, I went to an attorney for advice. After reviewing the circumstances of the harassment, he felt strongly enough about the injustice of it to take on my case pro bono...even tho' we had never met and he normally charged hundreds of dollars for an hour of time. Ignoring him is hardly fair tribute to the dozens of hours he spent protecting me. The list of men is equally daunting.

Figuring this whole issue out is starting to feel like work...

I wish it were possible to practice what one of my favorite authors Baltasar Jeronimo Gracian y Morales calls "the fine art of forgetting." He considers it to be a prerequisite for happiness. Oh well....if wishes were cars, we'd all be driving in style instead of plodding along.


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