The Justice Department estimates there could be hundreds of thousands of victims. "I don't know if virtual rape is any less worse than real rape," says Christine. "People think they can get online and do anything and not be traced and not be held responsible for it."
Christine's tormentor was everywhere. "He would put up blog pages and describe me in the most unflattering ways." Christine describes one assault after another, "You're like 400 pounds...You're ugly and nobody wants you...You're a child abuser. And then there were a whole lot of sexual things about myself and my mother."
Things escalated for Christine when her stalker posted her social security number and address on some websites. [...]
"The way I think about the internet it's kind of like the Wild West. It's just this great big frontier that's not governed and while I don't want to see it over-governed, when it comes to making someone else live in fear or misery that should not be tolerated."
There are five states that do not have cyber-stalking laws, including DC. While some law enforcement agencies are responding aggressively, others are still not fully aware of the problem.
"We've had some cases with multiple harassers where they gang up on a person," says Jane Hitchcock, a victim's advocate who was instrumental in passing Maryland's cyber-stalking law. "The reason it should be taken more seriously is that you don't want it to escalate to an offline situation where someone might end up getting physically hurt or killed. [...]
As for Christine's stalker, he did get some jail time.