Trigger warning: This post deals with domestic violence and suicide, and may be triggering for some readers.
Imagine a man messaged his girlfriend a list of reasons why she was “not worthy.”
Imagine that 34-item list accused her of having a “fat gut”, a “loose” vagina and “bad breath”, accused her of “hating men”, and criticising her for her sexual abilities.
Turns your stomach, doesn’t it?
The same man went on to send a string of abusive texts to another of his girlfriends, Bree Robinson, calling the 21-year-old woman “a stupid, dumb c***” and threatening to leave to find “better sex elsewhere”.
Minutes after receiving a message like this, Bree jumped off a balcony to her death — a devastating culmination of what a magistrate later described as a deliberate campaign of “gratuitous harrassment” perpetrated by Shearin.
The story is tragic and infuriating. But just as distressingly, the messages Shearin allegedly emailed and texted these women are not unique.
Domestic violence experts say this sort of use of new technologies to harrass and control partners is on the rise — and the phenomenon, dubbed “textual harrassment” by the Courier Mail, has presented a major challenge to anti-domestic violence campaigners.
Domestic violence goes hi-tech: the frightening new epidemic.
Heidi Guldbaek from Women’s Legal Services Australia told Mamamia she and her colleagues had seen “all kinds of stalking, harrassing” and “abusive” behaviour through the use of technology.