Unlike conventional therapy patients, these cyberchat addicts don't need to waste hours of time and thousands of dollars trying to overcome their "resistance." Pressured to produce a shocking, witty, outrageous or perverse persona lest they become cyberwallflowers, they regress on line instantaneously and seemingly universally.
As one participant explained: "You have to keep a person interested.
The DA treated Jovanovics e-mail as fact, but chalked up that of the victim to playful fantasy and a love of language.
As a result, she survived her ordeal virtually (to make a bad pun) unscathed.
Handles with Care The then 30-year-old Jovanovic and his accuser, a 20-year-old English and philosophy major at Barnard College, met in an America On-line chat room at the end of her freshman year.
By ignoring 'Net dynamics and accepting his e-mail postings as pure representations of truth rather than admixtures of fantasy, the verdict exposed the failure of many traditional institutions to grasp the psychological upheaval wrought by cyberculture.
There were no bite or burn marks, for example, to help substantiate ZZ5's story.
The prosecution argued that Jovanovic was an accomplished sadist who knew how to avoid leaving marks.
Legal maneuvering stripped the victim's e-mail of its many references to her interest and participation in bondage and domination experiences, experiences that in themselves commonly turn gender roles upside down.
The unexpurgated e-mail, however, is not only key to the case, it is a great prism for viewing the new havoc in relationships playing out on-line.