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Advocates for survivors of domestic violence and abuse are applauding the New Hampshire Supreme Court after a unanimous decision Thursday ceded no ground to a man accused of targeting a woman with violent and sexual images and messages online.
Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Sexual Violence, which filed an amicus brief in the case, said she was glad to see the court decide this case on the merits.
“I think the most important message from this opinion is to offenders, which is that you cannot terrorize people and simply call it free speech,” she said.
Schollett said the stalking in this case was perpetrated entirely online, but it had the same effect as in-person stalking, which is to subject a victim to an ongoing state of terror.
“The power of stalking is that it keeps the victim in a perpetual state of fear and hypervigilance, and the Supreme Court recognized the necessity of protecting victims from further abuse in this case by deciding that it’s a compelling state interest,” she said.
“We hope that this case means that in future cases the court will look carefully at online stalking and recognize the very real threat that it is,” she added.
June 30, 2023