“Too often victims do not fully appreciate the true danger of being stalked, and this can be a fatal mistake.” (Quote from Suite101.com.)

Cyberstalking is online internet stalking. “Cyberstalkers are often driven by revenge, hate, anger, jealousy, obsession and mental illness.” according to Wired Safety.  The discussion below is a quote from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

What Is Stalking?

Stalking refers to harassing or threatening behavior that is engaged in repeatedly. Such harassment can be either physical stalking or cyberstalking.

  • Physical stalking is following someone, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing one’s property.
  • Cyberstalking involves using the Internet or other electronic means to harass.

    Either type of action may or may not be accompanied by a credible threat of serious harm. But both types can cause psychological damage, and each can potentially lead to an assault or even murder.

The Knox family has received both credible threats of violence and implied threats. We are being cyberstalked. Here is the most recent collection of comments, which I view as stalking: advocating harassment to shut up witnesses

 

Some Key Factors in Online Stalking (Cyberstalking)

Wikipedia has a great deal on cyberstalking. Here are a few of them that we have experienced:

  • False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.[4]
  • Encouraging others to harass the victim. Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way, or may post the victim’s name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit.
  • False victimization. The cyberstalker will claim that the victim is harassing him/her. Bocij writes that this phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases.
  • Attacks on data and equipment. They may try to damage the victim’s computer by sending viruses.

  The stalker belittles the victim, reducing him/her to an object. This allows the stalker to vent anger without experiencing guilt. e.g. The victim is mad and evil. He/she deserves to be threatened. (Meloy and Gothard, 1995)

 

Character of a Stalker

Wikipedia says: “There are three basic types of stalkers: Simple obsessional stalkers, delusional stalkers and vengeful stalkers.”

  • Simple obsessional stalkers are those that are “in love” in vain.
  • Delusional stalkers may suffer from mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or erotomania. A delusional stalker is usually a loner, unmarried, socially immature and does not possess the interpersonal skills to maintain friendships and relationships. They have had few if any sexual encounters.
  • The last type of stalker is the vengeful stalker. They stalk to get even and believe that “they” have been victimized.

 

Know Net in Wales links stalking to Narcissistic personality disorder:

Narcissistic personality disorder appears to have a strong association with obsessional stalking behaviour, particularly in association with the stalkers attempts to control others from expressing critical comment … using threats and violence to insist that others see them as they wish to be seen rather than as they are, often coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted …

 

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is defined in Wikipedia:

Cyber-bullying (predominantly spelled cyberbullying by many researchers) is when someone repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through emails or text messages, or uses online forums and postings online intended to harm, damage, humiliate or isolate another person that they don’t like.[2]

The two are similar, but cyberbullying most often refers to young victims:

Cyber-bullying vs. cyber-stalking
StopCyberbullying.org, an expert organization dedicated to internet safety, security and privacy, defines cyberbullying as:

“a situation when a child, tween or teen is repeatedly “tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted” by another child, tween or teen using text messaging, email, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology.”

The practice of cyberbullying is not limited to children and, while the behavior is identified by the same definition in adults, the distinction in age groups is referred to as cyberstalking or cyberharassment when perpetrated by adults toward adults. Common tactics used by cyberstalkers are to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim’s earnings, employment, reputation, or safety.

A pattern of repeated such actions against a target by and between adults constitutes cyberstalking.

 

What Can We Do?

At the present moment, there is not much that can be done. It is tough to brave this mental anguish, but until the stalkers make a mistake or show up at our doorstep, all we can do is to make provisions and to wait.


Related: Witness Intimidation In Barbados: Was Mercedes Van Registration At Home By Accident - Or For A Sinister Reason?