'Hello'

After 13 years of harassment online, victim gets back her voice

Lindsey Goldrick Dean. (YouTube / ITVNews)

After an incredible 13-year ordeal at the hands of a man she met just four times, Lindsey Goldrick Dean finally feels liberated — from embarrassment, from fear and from unrelenting harassment. And from efforts by her abuser, Paul Curran, to silence her. In July, Goldrick Dean started a Twitter account and said, “I haven’t had a voice in 13 years. Hello.”

The simply worded post marks a profound moment for Goldrick Dean, who as recently as 2015 suffered through Curran setting up two Twitter accounts under her name, and using them to post links to at least 10 websites he had created about her. LindseyGoldrick-ANastyLyingPieceOfWork.com was one; YouThinkYouKnowLindsey.com was another, and on them were pages of lies, embellished emails from her, and offensive content.

The start of this nightmare was simple enough. In 2004, amicably split from her husband in the U.S. and having started over near her mother in England, Goldrick Dean decided to try online dating. As Women in the World previously reported, after she briefly dated Curran (four meetings in six months), he began an unremitting 13-year campaign of online harassment, that only ended in July when she took him to England’s high court and won damages and an assurance of no repetition of the conduct.

In an interview with The Guardian, Goldrick Dean recounts, in excruciating detail, his “disgusting, vile” and oppressive fixation, which included contacting her family, friends and employers. He even purchased Google ads so when people searched her name, they would be directed to the numerous sites he had created about her. “[There were] pictures of strands of my hair and blottings of my lipstick that I’d thrown in the bin,” she says, describing some of the site content. “It was a lot of sexual content, that I was into gang bangs and things, it was just … Things like that.”

Goldrick Dean went to the police, but found them not particularly helpful. Early on, in 2005, Curran was arrested, but police told Goldrick Dean their hands were tied until he physically harmed her. One police officer suggested she just change her name. Her local member of parliament also failed to render her any assistance.

Meanwhile, Goldrick Dean’s life was on hold — unable to change jobs because her online presence was so compromised and unwilling to move from a house that was intended to be short-term, because it could be fortified and the neighbors were reliable. “My ambition was just quashed,” she says. “I used to be so vibrant, full of ideas. I just felt stifled. My confidence went.” One of the worst moments, she said in an interview with ITV News, was when her son, who was 6 years old at the time, was searching family names on the internet and she worried he would stumble upon one of the sites Curran had set up and advertised online, particularly given that Curran would update the sites to address what was happening in her life, including milestones like getting married and giving birth.

Eventually, at huge risk to herself, she knew what she had to do, as she explains in her riveting interview. Below, watch an interview with ITV News that aired in Britain last week. Goldrick Dean elaborates on the experience and makes it clear that at no time did she even consider her harasser anything like a significant other. In fact, she confirmed, she hardly even knew him.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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