harassment is a grown-up version of school yard bullying. Multiple individuals
within a community participate in the harassment and stalking of a single
individual. However, rather than attack a victim physically, techniques are
used to undermine a person psychologically. This can be far more
damaging than a physical attack because not only is it very hard to prove,
but it is extremely traumatizing for the victim. (Also known as cause
stalking or gang stalking).
community-based harassment apart from the related examples to the right is
that the reason it takes place is often obscure to the victim. Without a
solid reason for its occurrence, victims are often dismissed as delusional.
In addition, this form
of harassment often leaves the target a victim of ridicule among friends
and family because of the subtle nature of the attacks, which
further compounds the trauma to the victim. It is emotionally draining and
isolating to the victims because it is extremely difficult to prove, and
virtually impossible to prosecute.
Although it is
difficult for a non-victim to understand, it is not difficult to realize
that many schoolyard bullies have never outgrown their unhealthy ways of
dealing with conflict and pain.
Reasons may include
revenge by people who feel slighted but prefer to remain anonymous. Revenge
is more common than you may think, especially with the advent of the
internet which allows "revengists" or
"avengers" to share their ideas. See http://www.ekran.no/html/revenge/
or do a search on the word "revenge" to see for yourself.
It is also possible
that such harassment has developed into a form of "sport" for the
individuals who participate, not unlike a schoolyard bullying situation,
which tends to center somewhat obsessively and irrationally around one
individual who is perceived to be weak.
It is important to
realize that our society's understanding of human psychology has grown
exponentially over the last 50 years, allowing any hate or vigilante group
to take full advantage of such knowledge. "Psychological warfare"
is the perfect crime, because it causes the maximum damage to the victim,
with the least chance of exposure of the perpetrator(s). Victims can very
well be driven to suicide, while the explanation appears to be
mental illness, so their claims are never investigated.
(2) Vigilante style harassment of individuals such as abortion clinic
workers, whistle-blowers and activists. Vigilante groups take the law
into their own hands. Click here for two
articles on vigilante groups.
Bullying of adults by other adults is a phenomenon which is
sharply on the rise, as described by the Toronto Star Article
entitled "Raging parents: The new schoolyard
bullies". The article states that "compared to a few years
ago [this phenomenon] is everywhere". Parents "can't control
their rage" and "there is mounting concern about parents
behaving badly". The bullying doesn't take place just one-on-one,
but groups of parents gang up on individual teachers in internet
chat-rooms by holding "daily instant message bashing sessions about
teachers they dislike". Essentially, the bullying is organized, and
the internet is a key tool in facilitating that organization.
stalking [gang stalking] has been used by extremist groups since the early 1990s.
The basic system is alleged to have been developed by the Ku Klux Klan and
refined through years of use. The primary characteristic of cause stalking
is that it is done by large groups of people. A target will always be
followed, but he is unlikely to see the same stalkers very often. Many of
these groups include hundreds of people."
What is Technological Harassment?
harassment refers to the use of technology to view, track, monitor
and/or harass a person from a distance. The technology may include
audio and/or video surveillance, GPS trackers on vehicles, and "non-lethal weapons" (NLWs).
You have to be important to be a target of such intense
and persistent stalking.
This is primarily a hate crime, whose targets tend to be neither
wealthy nor public figures. Because the target is often no longer able to
hold a job, s/he usually lacks the funds to fight back. What makes this
different from other hate crimes is that the target is often not made aware
if the reason behind it.
If you think you are targeted, you must be mentally ill.
While delusional thinking does exist, these
situations have an identifiable pattern to them. This type of harassment has
been modelled on past hate crimes and refined
through years of use. It is intended to make the target look crazy. In addition, the
activity is so traumatizing that many otherwise "mentally healthy" individuals might easily
develop mental health issues as a result of the stalking. Hence, mental illness is not
an indicator of whether or not the activity is actually taking place.
If you don't make them angry, they will stop.
Like bullies in the school playground, they do not go away
if you ignore them. Victims have found, to their dismay,
that the targeting can go on for years. Exposure is the way to
A Word About Mental Illness
This situation is often perceived to be mental illness. Differentiating
between mental illness and a true multiple stalking and technological
harassment situation takes time. Victims may also
have developed mental illness as a result
of the trauma. As mentioned on various mobbing
websites, this activity is so traumatic that it can cause mental
illness in an otherwise healthy individual. Therefore, mental illness is
not necessarily an indicator or proof that the situation is not
For these reasons, it is important to give a person the benefit of the
doubt and to remain open-minded and receptive to the idea that something is
happening that is not merely attributable to a delusion. It took many years
for mobbing to become publicly acknowledged, and victims of this crime face
the same uphill battle.
The Martha Mitchell Effect
When seeing a helping professional, many victims often experience what is known as the "Martha Mitchell Effect":
"Sometimes improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness (Maher, 1988). The 'Martha Mitchell effect' referred to the tendency of mental health practitioners to not believe the experience of the wife of the American attorney general, whose persistent reports of corruption in the Nixon White House were initially dismissed as evidence of delusional thinking, until later proved correct by the Watergate investigation.
Such examples demonstrate that delusional pathology can often lie in the failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician. Clearly there are instances 'where people are pursued by the Mafia' or are 'kept under surveillance by the police', and where they rightly suspect 'that their spouse is unfaithful' (Sedler, 1995). As Joseph H. Berke (1998) wrote, even paranoids have enemies! For understandable and obvious reasons, however, little effort is invested by the clinicians into checking the validity of claims of persecution or harassment, and without such evidence the patient could be labeled delusional."
(Bell, Vaughan et. al. "Beliefs About Delusions". The Psychologist. Vol. 6 No. 8. August, 2003)
"Stalking-by-proxy occurs when a stalker enlists the
aid of other people in order to pursue a victim"-
Paul Bocij, Journal article on Cyberstalking
"Stalking-by-proxy" is the term most commonly used in journal articles to refer to what we call gangstalking or organized stalking. Another commonly used term in stalking studies is "multiple stalkers". Paul Bocij goes
on to say that "little is known about the frequency with which stalking by proxy occurs".
Studies on stalking have reported victims claiming more than one stalker:
In 5/95 (approx. 5%) of cases perpetrators were part of a group
40% of victims (38) said that friends and or family of their stalker had also been involved in their harassment (stalking-by-proxy)
All cases of multiple stalkers involved mixed sex stalker groups
It is curious that research on multiple stalkers has never taken place.
In fact, despite these numbers, stalking victims are routinely considered to be mentally ill when describing multiple stalkers to helping professionals.
The second article
reported the following statistics related to stalking, which are also common to gang stalking:
In 15% of cases, the victim could provide no possible reason for their harassment
13% reported that their homes had been bugged
32% reported that the stalker(s) broke into/damaged the inside of the victim's home
38% reported damage to the outside of the home
30% reported that the stalker(s) stole from the victim,
91% reported being watched
82% reported being followed
60% reported having their character slandered/defamed
84% were victim to repetitive phone calls
60% reported hang up phone calls
57% reported silent calls
46% reported negative attitude from the police, and 51% reported negative actions
Our information package was first created for
distribution at the Canadian pan-national convention of rape crisis centres in Vancouver
in 2005. It is also being used for mailings to introduce ouselves
to various groups, including other rape crisis centres,
victim's centres, crisis lines and university
"Thank you for making this available to the victims and your work on
educating the public. I really felt a breath of fresh air when I heard the
"I cannot thank you enough for your work in this nightmarish field of
gang stalking. Had it not been for you, it would have been impossible for
me to have my horrid experiences validated down in Tasmania
only island state. Tasmanian Domestic Violence counselors and friends went
to your site and finally had at least some idea of the torture I have
experienced from the criminals here. It HAS been torture. I do not even
know what all has been done to my body. I now have a state DV consultant
batting for me and ready to make an issue about legal aid's dropping me -
partially thanks to you! The DV counselors have been great and would not
have been as much so without your booklet." - Deborah
"I have to say that the CATCH video works. I was finally able to get
through to someone by showing them the CATCH video. I think the person that
I showed it to could relate to the person in the video. I think the person
I showed it related to things that were not so obvious. The person that I
showed it to was my mother. She has been
completely in denial that her son is being gang stalked, or that even such
a thing exists. My mother being a teacher, related to the speaker. The
speaker was similar in age to her, and looks very much like a teacher
would. My mother was also impressed with the organization of the
presentation, and the fact that the group is related to the rape victim
group. She did not once question the credibility of the speaker, as she
came through as credible in the way she presented. She didn't think the
speaker possibly had a mental illness either. I felt that the information
presented answered a lot of questions, and the information was presented in
a well thought out, organized manner. This single video helped me finally
get through to someone. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, as
you have no idea how good it felt to see my mothers mind begin accepting
the idea that this could be happening to her son (me)." - David