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Newsweek | Thanks For Ruining My Life

(12/10/2012) Only then, she says, did the full extent of the problem become clear to her—both the nudity and sexual abuse. Several people said they had seen the images on one of the boy’s phones. Dietrich began to panic. “I’m sure their whole lacrosse team saw them,” she says. “I was so stressed out, I would just burst into tears at the most normal things.”

She knew rumors were escalating. “Some people said, ‘Are you sure you didn’t consent?’!” At her lowest point, she says, she thought about suicide.

It’s a problem Jennifer Gentile Long, director of the women’s legal advocacy group AEquitas, says she increasingly sees in her work, as new technologies get “used as a weapon to harass and humiliate the victim,” creating “an invasion of privacy beyond what we’ve seen before.”

At the same time, she notes that technology can give the victim a voice: apps such as Hollaback allow users to report and map street harassment on the spot. And cellphone texts allowed Dietrich to offer concrete evidence to the police.

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