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What is it? Why is it? How may it be prevented?
How may it adversely affect its victims?
Written by one that has been and still is, being subjected to this indescribable invasion of one’s privacy, of one’s life….
…By Artsie_ladie, aka Sharon Donnelly
– Since the Internet is here to stay, so is the crime of cyberstalking. Therefore, there is a need to not only ask questions, the easier task, but then comes the daunting task of finding answers and solutions for these questions. Daunting as this is, however, it should not deter the mission nor become a prerequisite of concession.
– I am writing this article and drawing from a considerable amount of research done and from experiencing first hand the victimization of cyberstalking myself for a period now of about four years that I am aware of and I am still being stalked at this present time of writing this.
– In spite of the fact I have been threatened by my stalker that should I choose to write my ‘side of the story’, my name shall be permanently defiled all across the Internet, particularly my online name “Artsie_ladie”, I have made the conscious decision to blatantly and openly defy my stalker’s intrusion for quite the elementary reasons. Fire is usually fought with water, but when the fire becomes relentless or aggressive, it is then fought with more fire.
– In my opinion only a person that has something to hide would resort to making threats as an attempt to make me be and suffer, as ‘their silent victim’. As is the case with most crimes, intimidation laced with threats particularly is a very common method used to keep victims quiet. Also, should the person stalking me choose to defile my name, as a result of my defiance, then this is one more bit of ammunition my stalker provides ‘me’ with, against their subjugation and at their own doing, not mine.
– This is in no way meant to be an article to ‘provide’ all the answers on the topic, but rather an article to begin the ‘pursuit of’ answers to share with others and this can only be done by first readdressing the need for an increased awareness of a crime that has been around called stalking, but has mutated to accommodate the inclusion of the final frontier of cyberspace. The prevalence of this relatively new, cyber, by-product crime can only increase as more and more people make use of computers and the world wide web, and more often than not, cases are unreported by the victims for varying reasons.
– As with any endeavor, there first needs to be an initial point of engagement, and this is just that, a beginning. From this point forward, I aim to bring in more information from whatever reliable sources I can find or I am made privy to by the additional assistance from others, which I certainly not only welcome, but am asking for. As I sift through the information I have collected thus far, I will be sharing all the pertinent and applicable information, and all the while, still remaining in search of more valuable and useful information to share as well.
– Cyberstalking is a huge monster no longer looming, but is here among us and can only be controlled and hopefully eliminated eventually by launching an all-out campaign, bringing together the combined and serious minded efforts of many working towards the Internet being a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, therefore free of Internet based crimes, more specifically cyberstalking.
– I have searched and have made many inquiries, looking for a support group focused not only around and for the victims of cyberstalking, but also for stalking, period. My search and my inquiries have come up empty thus far, as to or for a support group with this goal in mind specifically.
– It is a known fact, people that suffer or have suffered the same encounters with crime or disease, gain much in the way of the unified support, understanding, compassion, etc., of others that have experienced the same. This is something that cannot be found to the degree needed by victims, through the normal channels of human association with family and friends.
– It is not that most people don’t want to help or be supportive, because most do, but it is the nature of the beast they can’t fully comprehend, and therefore, do not have the unique ability required to grasp the full scope of what the victim is trying to cope with nor are they equipped to then understand the “hows” or the “whys” when it relates to the victims’ reasoning, reactions, and or behavioural tendencies.
– There is also another factor that the stalker brings into play, which is rather typical of many that are guilty of acts they are not supposed to be doing and this is to discredit the victim. Once the victim is discredited, the victim becomes even more powerless in obtaining not only the help needed, but the understanding and compassion needed as well.
– In other words by discrediting the victim, the stalker also gains an increased advantage to aid them in the isolation of their victim. The more people the stalker can convince the victim lacks creditability, the more the stalker gains support against the victim. Thus, the victim becomes gradually left believing that there is no place to turn to for help.
– As I’ve previously stated, this is just the beginning of my writings on this topic of cyberstalking. I have much to say and share on this topic, including testimonials that will help others to see not only what it is like to be a victim, but also to let others know that such an intrusion is VERY possible, which I have discovered many people do not even think that a person’s computer can be placed under the control of someone else via the use of another computer. Then add the fact that it CAN also be done from say, the other side of the world, and there’s even less belief such is possible.
– Even though I am still struggling with trying to deal with having a stalker invading my computer, my life, therefore battling the emotional havoc I’ve been forced to try and function normally with, I have not given up the fight to beat the stalker at their own game, not only for myself, but also for others subjected to the same as well.
– I am not one to simply allow my rights to be violated without a very loud proclamation against such nor do I believe that ‘anyone’ should be silent when they are being violated in any way. I also believe that those whom violate the rights and privacy of others, should be made to be and held accountable for their transgressions and this same value should still hold true when a person violates another even when the intrusion is made through the use of computers.
– I have come to my own realisation that by my not using a very powerful tool at my disposal, which is my voice projected through my writing, I am allowing to a certain extent the stalker to achieve the control of my life they are after. It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have just been writing in places that are secluded from the majority’s view. Hence, my goal remains, but with an added determination now, not only to put a stop to this in my own life, but to help put a stop to this period, for the sake of others.
– I may have lost valuable time just complaining about being subjected to this and apparently, to the wrong people, to people that chose to ignore my objections to this invasion and to people that either couldn’t help me or to people that wouldn’t for whatever the reason being.
– However, the time I have spent investigating many different avenues, has also taught me that which I can’t rely on. I have thus learned what roads lead only to dead ends and what roads may be retraveled in the future once a new, better informed perspective has been reached.
– Metaphorically speaking, I equate my experience similarly to that of the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. As many people can attest to this battle I’ve been fighting, I’ve been down to about the lowest of lows emotionally, and by sheer faith in God along with great, supportive family and friends, I have made it through as far as I have, all the while having to overcome one obstacle after another in one form or another, the stalker has placed in my path deliberately with premeditation. …And as of the present time, is still doing the very same. I refuse, however and therefore, to allow the take-over and intrusion of my life by some person whom has NO right to do so whatsoever.
– Although as much as I’d like to make this even a little about the person stalking me, I do not plan on going in this direction, for the reason being, I want to focus around the problem, the issue, rather than around one particular individual, because all victims are subjected to stalking by an individual, each likely someone different and for different reasons. But the common ground between us victims all, is the crime of cyberstalking and the atrocity of it.
What Is Cyberstalking?
– To explain cyberstalking, one must first touch on “what is stalking”. Stalking is the UNWANTED attention and surveillance, therefore intrusion to varying degrees of another. A stalker may stalk another person for many reasons, which they justify and rationalise doing so in their own minds.
– Cyberstalking is of the same, only this is a more specific form of stalking and this type of stalking involves the use of computers, hence, the term “cyber” added.
Why Is It? Why Does A Stalker Stalk?
– There are many reasons why a stalker stalks its victims. The reason(s) may be in the harmless zone or the reason(s) may be to cause harm to the victim personally, such as physically, emotionally, financially, etc., and may not fall under just one category, but can and often does create a domino effect, overlapping one into another. For instance, a person stalked can be adversely affected in a financial sense, but so, is also adversely affected emotionally, which can manifest into the physical wellness of the victim being affected as well.
– Some of the reasons by which a stalker rationalises his actions are:
- – Jealousy: This reason has many preempting factors of its own, including the claiming of loving the victim, as well as the claiming of loving another, but the victim is coming between the stalker and the person of this affection.
- – Control: Some people cultivate a need to control others, which also pulls into this equation, the need for the feeling of power.
- – Obsession: Some people for varying reasons get carried away with what is an acceptable amount of liking and admiration of another, and so, not knowing or understanding just where to draw the line, go overboard and justify it.
- – Revenge: This word is obvious on its own, and like jealousy, it too, can harbour many instigating or initial roots, but with revenge, there are present more thoughts of dislike, even hatred brought into this scenario.
- – Mental instabilities: These may or may not stem from a mentally diagnosed problem, since most people harbour and realise their own fetishes, idiosyncrasies, and even inadequacies, but most people find a rational way to cope or deal with them and in a way that does not adversely affect others to the extent of a personal invasion.
- – Emotional insecurities: These may include low self-esteem, uncomfortableness when relating to and/or interacting with others, particularly with one-to-one interactions, and also the pendulum may swing to the other extreme, where an individual thinks they are ‘above’ others. However, this is oftentimes a facade, orchestrated to make others ‘think’ they are flawless, and often because they can’t accept the reality of their own fallibility, therefore believing others can’t accept them ‘as they are’, even though most people accept that humans aren’t perfect.
- – Total disregard: Unfortunately, there are people that simply think everything that exists, is there for their taking, regardless if whatever belongs to another or not, regardless if they know they are stealing whatever, and regardless about others, period. These are those that apparently have no conscience, definitely either have no clue as to knowing the difference between right and wrong or they simply choose to defy what they know to be wrong.
– I could go on and on here for these are just a few examples and simplistically defined, but seldom is the act of stalking, the thinking process that fuels the act, a simplistic train of thinking. There is usually much detailed thought put into the act of stalking, because the stalker WANTS their victim to know, but a stalker does NOT WANT anyone else to know for a stalker knows better than to voluntarily incriminate themselves.
– Even though a stalker justifies their action in their thinking process, somewhere within this thinking, there must also be a voice that is telling them it is wrong. Otherwise, a stalker wouldn’t be so careful about planning and following through with their intimidation tactics so ONLY their victim is aware and to take the measures a stalker will take to discredit and isolate their victim.
How May Cyberstalking Be Prevented?
– This is a very good question and it has no fool-proof answers, solutions, or even totally preventable measures that I am aware of. Just as most people do not have the knowledge to fully comprehend how, because most computer users are computer tech illiterate, I do not as well. But I do have a good deal of common sense and common sense when applied can be a very beneficial friend to keep in one’s corner, even if the technical knowledge is in short supply.
– However, we should still take every creditable recommended precaution and sound advice there is available to us about protecting ourselves, our identity online, we can. We want to enjoy the Internet, but we want to do it safely without the peering and prying eyes of any other unwanted guest along the way.
– We need to keep our computers up to date with ‘reliable and reputable’ security programs and we need to make it a top priority to be vigilant about the safety and security of our computers. Most of us dread the idea of the possibility of a virus getting into our computers, but we are less concerned about spyware and related intrusive tools. Yet, it is with these tools that a hacker can easily invade our computers to acquire what they are after, for most whatever other reason as well. We definitely want to make sure our computers are protected against viruses, but we mustn’t dismiss spyware and other invasive tools a hacker uses so easily, either.
– We need to keep our programs and the software we use, including our browsers, up to date. The reason being, many hackers look for and find vulnerabilities in these and they use these vulnerabilities to obtain access into our computers. Upgrades, although they can be bothersome, are done for good reasons, to fix bugs and issues with the program or software, but also to close any doors hackers find to get into our computers with. Hackers continually look for these and make use of every one they find to their advantage, of course.
– We need to think twice with what information about ourselves, we allow to be known about us freely. A perfect example: I wonder.. how many people know that by placing your complete date of birth anywhere, online or otherwise, you’re offering to identity thieves just as good a tool to gain access to your personal information, as providing your social security number? This was told to me by an officer of the law. Yet, people willingly post their complete date of birth and websites ask and/or require this information in many, possibly most cases. Most people carefully guard against others knowing their social security number, but on the other hand, they don’t give it a second thought when they post their DOB.
– How many people are aware exactly what happens when you click on a link that lands you on a website? Then how many are aware of exactly what happens when you sign up to join that site? Information is gathered about you, particularly your “online identity”, which is unique only to you. Reputable sites are not interested in using this gathering or acquiring to spy on you necessarily, but rather for reasons that are valid and above board and as tools to enable them to resolve certain problems that may present themselves. However, this same opportunity also presents itself in places that aren’t so harmless and when this is the case, you can be tracked and traced everywhere you go online and all through ‘your unique online identity’ more commonly known as your IP address. Just consider this as your “online fingerprint”.
– So many people seem to have this false presumption, a false sense of self induced security, that this just can’t possibly happen to them. It can only happen to the other person, not them. Well, remember this… if we are all thinking this way? This makes each and every one of us the “next person”… that it CAN happen to.
– It’s not necessary to place oneself into a panic, so they can’t enjoy being online, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be something that one should allow themselves to treat totally obliviously either. Use common sense and pay attention to seemingly strange or out of the norm occurrences that may or may not be ‘coincidences’. Something that happens may be a glitch in your system or just some unexplainable occurrence, and it is likely so, if it’s something that has happened once or twice. However, if there seems to be a mounting number of strange and unexplainable seemingly coincidences, particularly pointing to a ‘common denominator’, it is definitely time to ask someone that knows, inquire, as to why such is taking place. More likely than not, it will be a problem computer or website bug related, but it is still best to look into to be sure.
– If you do suspect something of a suspicious nature, don’t hesitate to document these happenings in any way you can, including noting the date and time, where you were at the time, what you were doing, etc.. A seemingly coincidental occurrence by itself is insignificant, but added with others, it can provide another piece to a puzzle you may need to try to piece together and solve at a later time. Since for most people it is a bit unlikely significant details will remain fresh in our memory banks, documentation, particularly with dates and times, is necessary for future reference that may become necessary to refer back to and also help to establish an outline that can help define any common denominator factors present when all the data is then reviewed altogether. Although this is really a very basic and standard protocol one should follow when suspicious of any activity, it is even more paramount when suspecting activity of a cyberstalker, because a cyberstalker’s intrusion can be very difficult to pinpoint for the average computer user, because of the very unlevel playing field. Also, since a victim is usually subjected to cyberstalking as an isolated target, because most users do not have an audience, therefore witnesses, to back up what they have experienced, a victim must then use every available means to back up their claims of suspicious activity.
How may it adversely affect its victims?
– The ways cyberstalking can adversely affect its victims are many, depending also on the intent or reasoning the cyberstalker uses or not to justify their intrusion. As with most negative , unwanted, unwarranted victimizations such as this that continue for a period of time, the more time the victim is subjugated to such, the greater the adverse repercussions can be, even to the point of compromising the health of the victim it plagues.
– As with any victimization, their is duress involved. Therefore, there is also the stress factor brought into the equation and most people are aware of the negative impact stress can have both on or with one’s health, and so, on their life. This may even include symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Syndrome.
– A person victimized by cyberstalking can also be faced with the added trauma of having their character defiled as well as their creditability. I can certainly vouch for this from first hand experience. Although I am a person of a very sound mind, the lengths my cyberstalker has gone to, to paint me as less than this, is beyond what most people want to even think about, much less believe. Add this to the fact that most people haven’t been subjected to this crime, therefore lacking the level of understanding required, and the victim can find themselves in an even greater battle with virtually no support to fight it.
Where Or Whom To Go to For Help
– At this time, I can’t really offer good information about where or to whom to go to for help, if you suspect being the victim of a cyberstalker, because I am still searching for help in this regard as well and I aim to find it, not only for myself, but to share with others being subjected to the same and for those that may be in the future. In fact this a major aspect which I hope to rectify by attempting to increase awareness about this crime and one that will continue to escalate as more and more people use computers and the Internet, and so increasing the number of potential cyberstalkers just by the law of averages alone. Cyberstalking does fall under the umbrella topic of Internet fraud and crime, but it has its own sadistic characteristics, as well as sharing the same of the other Internet crimes.
– I have gone to the FBI for help. I have gone to the police for help with this. I even have had a report written up about this. I have gone to the National Crime Prevention Center. I have taken this problem up with my ISP and my telephone company (a dial-up user). I have sought after people with considerable knowledge about computers. All of these efforts have given me no peace of mind, no satisfaction, but rather, an increased feeling of that I must simply learn to live with this problem, which I am not willing to do, because any unwanted invasion of the life of another is still a crime as far as I know. No one should be allowed to invade the life, the privacy, of another period, without some measure of accountability made by the invader.
To contact me, write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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~ May The L♥ve Of God ~
~ Always Touch And Live Within Your Heart ~
– Artsie_ladie 🙂