Phone harassment is one of the digital types of harassment. According to Statista, the number of calls and text messages from unknown numbers has increased in the past few years. In 2019, on average, Americans got 32 phone calls a month per person.
Getting annoying calls from unknown people is usual. However, if you have been called over and over again until you finally respond, only to be met with an indecent conversation, you should know that it is ultimately the time to take a step.
Telephone harassment happens when someone has the intention of annoying or abusing you for an extended time. This may include consistent phone calls, voice notes, and text messages. All of the things mentioned priorly can consist of rude massages, lewd voice notes, and phone calls full of insults, threats, and slurs. The harassment is persistent and overwhelming, one of the reasons the victim cannot process and is not mentally free enough to make a complaint.
According to a U.K. charity website to end online abuse called Fix The Glitch, 46% of women surveyed have faced online abuse since the beginning of COVID-19.
There was a time when cell phones were only a means of making phone calls and sending text messages. But as technology revolutionized, the current cell phones we all have can do a variety of things: make a video call, send voice messages, send requests on social networking sites, and whatnot. Today, phone harassment means not only abuse and violation of privacy through calls and texts but also other digital forms such as cyberbullying and cyberstalking.
The majority of the phone harassment victims simply want the harassment to stop. While others may wish for the perpetrator charged and prosecuted. In addition, some survivors may want to increase their technological security and privacy to prevent or limit contact with the abusive person.
Here is how you can deal with harassment by phone:
- Keep a record of harassment: Facing harassment can be emotionally upsetting. It may sound intimidating, but to report the harassment and get the abuser charged for the lewd act, you surely need some evidence to provide. Collecting screenshots of all the chats and recording the calls will make things easier at your end, and it won’t be difficult for you to get a protection order. Also, keeping a record of the date and time the abuser texted or called you can come in handy. Documenting harassment is significant since you are probably the only person who knows what happened, and the proofs may be unrecoverable at the abuser’s end.
Recording harassment may be okay with some people, but it may be traumatic or triggering for others. Talking to a close friend or a family member will be better if it gets overwhelming for you.
- Get professional help: Talk to a legal person such as a lawyer or a police officer to get more information about what kind of evidence you need to solidify your case. Getting professional help will be useful because they will be more knowledgeable about local laws, police, and court procedures.
- Block the abuser right away: One of the strategies to get rid of the harasser is not waiting for something terrible to happen and to block them from everywhere: block the phone number, social networking sites, email, etc. Contact your telephone company and ask them how you can restrict their number.
Keep in mind that there are limitations, and it depends from abuser to abuser. They can still contact you from another ID or phone number. Beware of the suspicious people in your surroundings.
- Keep a check on the people you know: Friends and family are the closest people for most of us. We feel no hesitation sharing our personal information, even digital information like social media passwords and phone patterns. However, some people can still be a threat to you and mean bad for you at every step.
Except for only the five people you genuinely trust, never share any kind of personal information with anyone at all. A jealous acquaintance or a colleague having a grudge with you can leak out your credentials.
Also, make sure the new people you meet or the new friends you make have an authentic identity. If something seems suspicious about the new friend you just met at a party and exchanged phone numbers with, use Nuwber for identity confirmation and see what comes up when you type their name and hit the search button. This way, you and your data will always stay protected.
- Check your privacy settings: To keep yourself safe for future events, you can change your privacy settings if they are public. Information like your date of birth, phone number, and email address should be confidential. Never let a stranger approach your social media sites and phone information. Always keep your phone protected by a strong pattern or password.
- Use a privacy manager: Many phone companies offer privacy manager services. The privacy manager uses Caller ID to identify incoming calls with no phone numbers. Calls marked as “anonymous”, “unavailable”, “out of the area”, or “private” must be identified to be completed.
Before your phone rings, a recorded message instructs the caller to unblock the call, enter a code number (similar to the above-mentioned inbound call blocking devices), or note down their name. You have the option of accepting or rejecting the call every time your phone rings. Forward the call to voice mail, or send a message to your telephone company instructing them to place you on their “do not call” list.
Phone harassment is increasing with time and has elevated in the times of the pandemic. It might be hard at first, but try to make yourself realize that all of what has happened to you is not your fault. You will be surprised at how absolute strangers can sometimes say the most inappropriate thing about you when you don’t even know them. Abusers and cyberbullies should be charged and sent to prosecution for harassment. In no way, digital abuse should be ignored.