Why is this Happening?

What is Technological Harassment?

What Do Victims Experience?

Myths and Facts

A Word About Mental Illness

Statistics

About Us

Contact Us

CATCH Literature

CATCH Presentations

Testimonials

Current Events & News

Resources & Links

Discussion Groups

Book Reviews & Excerpts

Useful Search Terms


What is Community-based Harassment?

Community-based 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).

What sets 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.

View a video of gang stalking activity. Also, there is a slideshow of stills taken from the video.

Frequently Asked Questions about organized stalking groups.


Why is this Happening?

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.

 

Related Activities

Other very similar phenomena include:

(1) Workplace harassment (or "mobbing")

(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.

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"Cause 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."

- David Lawson,
Terrorist Stalking in America


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What is Technological Harassment?
Technological 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).

"Non-lethal" weapons are available on the internet and through books. See: High-Tech Harassment: How to Get Even with Anybody Anytime for an example of a simple weapon.

See also:

Ultrasonic devices
Revenge devices
Sonic nausea
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What do victims experience?

Not all victims experience both gang stalking and technological harassment, but many do.

Community-based harassment includes some of the following:

  • Break-ins and small scale vandalism or sabotage
  • Daily,repetitive, antagonistic activities involving multiple stalkers and/or vehicles
  • Multiple daily phone calls with no one on the other end of the phone
  • Noise harassment from neighbors
See www.multistalkervictims.org for more examples.


General characteristics of stalking:
  • When compared with many other intrusive crimes, stalking is difficult to define and classify
  • Stalking has a nebulous quality in that it involves no more than the targeted repetition of ostensibly ordinary behaviours
  • Stalkers often do not overtly threaten, but use behaviour which is ostensibly routine and harmless, and not, in itself, illegal
  • A problematic aspect of support is that, at the start of the stalking period at least, stalking victims are not all taken seriously
  • Stalkers do not always conduct their campaigns single-handedly

- Points taken from:
The Course and Nature of Stalking: A Victim Perspective



Technological harassment can include:
  • Sabotage/hacking of computer equipment and phones
  • Use of audio and/or video surveillance to keep track of the target's whereabouts
  • Banging and tapping of walls, windows and objects inside the house
  • Vibrating objects, such as bed, chair or body parts
  • Inexplicable behavior of anything electronic including TV, computer, car, and appliances (for example, TV turning on or off by itself)
Targets may experience the following physical symptoms:
  • Dizziness, weakness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Intense, disruptive ear ringing
  • Buzzing or clicking in the head, ears or sinuses
  • Jolts and jerks to muscles
  • Abdominal pain/nausea
  • Mental confusion/inability to concentrate

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Myths and Facts

Myth #1

  

Non-lethal weapons don't exist in the public domain.

Fact

  

See the following for examples of "low-tech" non-lethal weapons: High-Tech Harassment: How to Get Even with Anybody Anytime
Ultrasonic devices
Revenge devices
Sonic nausea

Myth #2

  

You have to be important to be a target of such intense and persistent stalking.

Fact

  

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.

Myth #3

  

If you think you are targeted, you must be mentally ill.

Fact

  

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.

Myth #4

  

If you don't make them angry, they will stop.

Fact

  

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 stop them.


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 happening.

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)

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Statistics
"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:
  1. American Journal of Psychiatry (158:795-798, May 2001):
    Article: Traumatic Distress Among Support-Seeking Female Victims of Stalking (Kamphuis & Emmelkamp)
    • 6/201 (approx. 3%) of respondents reported multiple stalkers

  2. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice (Volume 40, Number 3, August 2001 , pp. 215-234(20)):
    Article: The Course and Nature of Stalking: A Victim Perspective (Sheridan, Davies & Boon)
    • 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

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About Us
We are a group of targeted individuals living in Ontario, Canada who have made the decision to help ourselves as well as others by working together on activism projects to expose this crime.

Thanks to the help of our local rape crisis center, we have been able to work at raising public awareness through activities such as presentations and mailings.

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Contact Us
CATCH is not active at the moment. Some members of CATCH may be reached through the Multistalk forum (see below).

Please do not contact the rape crisis centre mentioned in our older literature, as they will not be able to provide you with any information while CATCH is inactive.


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C.A.T.C.H. Literature
Our Information Package

Click to enlarge

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 women's centres.

Click here to view and print our information package

Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat to view and print the files. Adobe Acrobat is free.
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CATCH Presentations
  • CATCH gave a presentation to the Women's Support Network of York Region (WSNYR) on February 15th, 2006. To view the video online, go to http://www.catchcanada.org/videos.htm


  • CATCH gave a presentation to the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) on October 20th, 2005. To view the video online, go to http://www.catchcanada.org/videos.htm


  • To view a 5-minute gang stalking video filmed by the leader of CATCH at her home, click here.


  • Read the presentation we gave to the workers at the our local rape crisis centre on Monday, April 18, 2005, as well as the feedback they gave us. It was well-received.

Testimonials:

"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 presentation."- Nancy

"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 - Australia's 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

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Current Events & News

Are 'they' watching?

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Resources & Links
www.multistalkervictims.org

www.gangstalking.ca

www.freedomfchs.com (very active)

www.gangstalkingworld.com

Cyberstalking articles by Paul Bocij (includes references to stalking-by-proxy)

www.stalkingbyproxy.com (Blog - new)

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Discussion Groups

(1) Cause Stalking: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cause_Stalking/

(2) Electronic Violence: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Electronic_Violence/

(3) multistalk - for victims of gang stalking. Discussion of electronics not permitted in this group. For more info see: www.multistalkervictims.org.

(4) Conference Call - "Freedom from Covert Harassment & Surveillance" holds regular conference calls.

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Online Book Reviews & Excerpts

Terrorist Stalking in America   by David Lawson

Gaslighting  by Victor Santoro

Victims of Dargle Cottage    by Dr. Armen Victorian.  

High-Tech Harassment: How to Get Even with Anybody Anytime    by Scott French.   

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Useful Search Terms
"criminal harassment"
"stalking-by-proxy"
"multiple stalkers"
"organized stalking"
"group stalking"
"cause stalking"
"gang stalking"
"vigilante stalking"
"psychological harassment"
"psychological violence"
mobbing
bullying
revenge
stalking