Although stalking and harassment are not new to society, due to the introduction of the internet, they are increasingly becoming a more significant problem than ever before. The impulsivity and removed nature of the internet are increasing the incidents of victims of harassment and stalking activities.
The biggest problems for anti harassment lawyer Seattle are that harassment and stalking behaviors are subjective, and, sometimes, all about the perspective of the individuals involved. With the impersonal nature of the internet, people commonly do not fully understand what someone is saying and others misinterpret how their messages are being read or perceived.
When you send an email to someone, there are times when you write things in the email that you wouldn’t ever actually say if someone were standing in front of you. Since there is no accountability with pressing the send button, people feel less responsible for what they put in an email.
But, an email is an excellent tool for proving that someone is either harassing or stalking you. If someone is sending you emails that have a threatening tone, then, according to anti-harassment laws in Seattle, they are breaking the law. When we send emails, our message is just a few clicks away from being fully public.
Although technology might allow people to send emails from an alternative and seemingly untraceable IP address, law enforcement has become very good at tracking down the source of an email and holding the sender accountable for their actions.
What is electronic harassment
Due to social media, law enforcement has had to redefine internet harassment laws. Things like text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have become a great forum to harass someone; and, now that most of these products have location services, it has become an excellent tool to catch would-be stalkers.
If someone is posting harassing messages on their social media account (or on yours), then it is now possible to seek justification from them. It doesn’t necessarily have to equate to criminal conduct. If someone is harassing or stalking you on social media, that is not lawful due to anti-harassment laws.
What is the legal definition of harassment in Seattle?
Unlawful harassment is illegal, and it consists of someone willfully conducting themselves in a way that is annoying, harassing, or alarming to another person or other groups of people.
A “course of conduct” means that there is a pattern of behaviors that extend over a period; therefore, to claim harassment, the offense cannot be a one-time occurrence. The illegal act has to be repetitive and disturbing to someone for it to be considered unlawful harassment.
The concept of a reasonable person
For a course of conduct to be considered harassment, the construct of a reasonable person has to be proven. To show that someone has been stalking or harassing you, you must be able to determine that their behavior would, likewise, be bothersome to any reasonable person who was the recipient of their messages.
It must be the case that, if any reasonable person were in your shoes, they would be suffering detrimentally due to the egregious nature of the messages.
What if the other person doesn’t live in Seattle?
If someone is harassing you and they do not reside in Seattle, they will be held accountable and legally guided by the anti-harassment laws in Seattle (if that is where you file your claim). It is possible for you to register for an order of protection against your abuser, even if they reside in another state.
Can you hold your abuser financially responsible?
If the harassment leads to a high enough degree of damages for the person who is being harassed, then it might be possible for the victim to sue the abuser. You can be held liable in a court of law if the harassing behaviors you display equal either libel or defamation,, meaning that they negatively affect your reputation or standing in the community.
Before you put anything in writing on the internet, it is essential to know that you can be held accountable for anything that you say. Although there is a barrier to the personal nature of correspondence on the internet, that does not mean that you aren’t responsible for the damage that you do with your emails, your posting to social media, or your text messages. Please be careful with everything that you do online because you never know how others are going to perceive what you say.