Sunday, August 31, 2008

When Does Persistence Turn to Stalking?

When the contact is unwanted.

As most of you who read this blog know, I play a game called Second Life. It is a virtual world in which you can do pretty much anything you do in this world, and then some. It is basically a chat program with a visual element in the form of a physical manifestation of can have a home, a husband/wife, a baby even, and the players pair up and break up at a dizzying rate. The average romantic relationship in Second Life lasts 4 or so weeks, however, a week in Second Life should be measured like dog years, because the nature of the medium accelerates everything and the mind to mind communication allows for rampant emotionalism.

It also can be an incubator for stalkers.....folks who can't take "I don't want to see you anymore" for an answer. Such a situation has befallen me. I met a man in the game, we became "virtual" lovers, the relationship fell apart after about 6 weeks (this happened in late January or early February), and the man involved just won't go away. I wish he would, because what he sees as persistence, I see as stalking.

He got banned from my land and my life after he decided that pursuing me to my private space in the game, without an invitation, was the right thing to do. Fortunately, SL has a "mute" feature where you can turn off all communications with any given "AV" or character, and I muted him in the game, whereupon he decided to start emailing me, outside the game. I used the spam feature of my email to block his address, so he sent emails in his wife's name, which were promptly blocked as well. Now he is posting to my blog in an attempt to get my attention, which, in my opinion, constitutes stalking, since I have made it perfectly clear to him that I want no communication with him on any level or in any venue.

Persistence is a wonderful quality in a person, and all too lacking in our fast paced, very shallow society, where instant gratification is the order of the day, and very few people will follow anything to the bitter end. It also has a down side, and if allowed to run amok, produces a situation like this. I consider myself fortunate that this man cannot show up on my doorstep, as he lives in another state and has physical disabilities, as well as a wife and family, but I wish he would just leave me alone. I will post this in the hope that he will see himself in my words, and finally respect my wishes. If he does not, I will investigate my options with the Authorities, since he has stalked me on the internet and I believe there are laws in place against such things now, since a young woman recently committed suicide after having been harassed online by the overprotective mother of the girl's neighbor, out for a laugh at the expense of an emotionally vulnerable teenager.

This is my last plea to you, Michael (you know who you are)....please, leave me alone, and cease all attempts at communications with me or I will take steps to make sure that you do. Your persistence has turned into stalking and it MUST stop.


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