Man Who Called Ex-Girlfriend 800 Times In Two Days Charged With Cyberstalking

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The idea of being stalked is undoubtedly a terrifying one. One’s privacy being violated, the feeling of always being watched, not knowing if you’re ever safe when you leave the house, all of those things can be damaging to the psyche and leave a victim with a sense of paranoia forever.

With the further progression of the digital age, stalking has only become easier thanks to social media, as stalkers now have many more tools at their disposal to make their victims feel threatened.

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Lurking In The Shadows

A new type of stalking charge has started gaining more attention as of late. While traditional stalking might look like a familiar car following you home, a man peeking into your windows, or phone calls to your work to find out when you’re in, this new form of stalking takes place entirely online.

Someone holding their phone in front of them and texting.
Pexels / Jéshoots
Pexels / Jéshoots

It’s called ‘cyberstalking’, and it utilizes the accessibility of social media to similarly stalk and harass victims by closely following their post locations and bombarding them with unwelcome messages.

Never-Ending Calls

Derik Wayne Bowers, a 44-year-old man in Maryland, Virginia, is facing quite the sentence after he was charged with cyberstalking his ex-girlfriend by sending her a barrage of unending phone calls—over 800 of them in two days.

A photo of Bowers.
WV Division of Corrections & Rehabilitation
WV Division of Corrections & Rehabilitation

The difference between standard stalking and cyberstalking is largely in the name, as cyberstalking involves the use of technology, social media, or other internet-based resources to keep tabs on someone and know their private, personal details without their permission.

Constant Interference

In Bowers’ case, he was harassing his ex-girlfriend not only with phone calls, but with text messages as well, both sent via Facebook’s messaging system. The exact number of phone calls he conducted over the two days in December of 2022 was 815.

A closeup of the Facebook Messenger app.
Pexels / Brett Jordan
Pexels / Brett Jordan

Alongside these hundreds of phone calls were thousands of text messages that were sent over the course of several months. According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia, he also “used social media posts to embarrass her and interfere with her livelihood.”

Promoting Accountability

If he’s convicted, Bowers will be facing up to five years in prison for his one count of cyberstalking.

Someone'd phone screen displaying a notification over the phone app.
Pexels / Torsten Dettlaff
Pexels / Torsten Dettlaff

“Cyberstalking is a pervasive problem that we treat very seriously in West Virginia,” US Attorney William Ihlenfeld said in an official statement.

“I encourage those who are being intimidated online and who suffer substantial emotional distress as a result to file a police report so that wrongdoers may be investigated and held to account.”

More And More Cases

This isn’t the only case of cyberstalking making the news recently, as it comes just after a man in the U.K. was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison for a similar count of cyberstalking BBC presenter Alexis Green, also harassing her through the use of Facebook’s messaging system.

Someone holding their phone in front of them and texting.
Pexels / Porapak Apichodilok
Pexels / Porapak Apichodilok

During her victim statement, Green said she “can’t remember feeling such dark time in my life.”

“[The stalking] has made me feel less confident in every aspect of my life.”

A New Age

As our lives have become more intertwined with our online presence over the years, it’s become harder to feel fully safe on social media, especially if we want to remain in touch with family and friends and thus have our real names and lives on display.

Someone holding their phone and responding to a text message.
Pexels / RODNAE Productions
Pexels / RODNAE Productions

Given how readily everything is available for those willing to look, cases like these will likely only be on the rise. This is a new era of internet normalcy, etiquette, and behavioral norms, all of which will be crossed by evil people with too much time on their hands. Stay safe out there!

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Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]