One of our authors recently found herself in quite the predicament, where a stranger who learned of her through her books and writing, decided to cross some boundaries in the worst ways. At our agency, we care very much about our authors, and would never want them, or any other writer in the book world, experiencing what our author, Jenna Woginrich has experienced This post is also posted on her website.
By Jenna Woginrich
This morning I woke up to a snow-covered fairy tale of a farm. I hugged my dogs close before we got out of bed. I set coffee on the stove, got dressed, and started morning chores. I lit the fires in both the wood stove and my ribcage to get the work done that needs doing. Besides the animals’ breakfasts – there are freelance clients to work on, errands in town, articles to pitch, book proposals to sell – the life I made here is half creative and half body. A perfect blend that gets me outside, moves my bones, gets sunshine on my face, and gives me a way to express myself and feel useful and needed by others – even if it is just a tail-wagging goat kid that screams a lot. I am content here, and love this life. And that is what I need to realize when this place is attacked online.
Since my blog began it has had critics. That is nothing new and part of being a public figure. But recently a site has gone too far – moving into the realm of cyberstalking and harassment under New York State Law. This is taken seriously up here, since in the past this state has had slanderous websites and blogs end up in death, life sentences, restraining orders, and suicides.
In recent months an obsessed person has followed my every move online. I can not use any social media without her watching or commenting under several usernames and accounts. In some cases even creating accounts for the sole purpose of disrupting me. She doesn’t only discuss the farm and my writing – she discusses my dating life, my appearance, my sexuality, my friends, family, and finances. She knows the brand of jeans I wear and shampoo I use. She stalks me in places that have nothing to do with my farm, like those in my religious or falconry community. Responding to my posts with links to her website or accusations. This person has not kept her activity online either, and has reported me to my local Police and the DEC, sending officers to my front door. (They admit they called the police on me).
People like this assume that making anonymous accounts to accuse public people are protected by their anonymity. That is not the case. Yesterday this page and the person were reported to both the NY State Police and the FBI. I will continue to make these reports as long as these pages exist online. Enough reports warrant a federal investigation into cyberstalking, and at the very least – a restraining order. By the way, these are not anonymous restraining orders. It will be public information that you spend your time online dangerously obsessing over a woman with intent to hurt her. This type of recourse has legal precedent, and I have contacted a lawyer who specializes in such cases in NY State. I am taking this slander anymore.
I ask that you readers join me in reporting this site, and ones like it, to Blogger and Twitter as harassment. If these people want to complain or chatter about me they can do so spaces created for that kind of activity – like GOMI. But creating your own website, comments, emails, accusations, multi-platform stalking, and lifestyle obsession is not what any normal person does against a stranger. This has gone from snark into abuse and harassment and will not be tolerated any longer.