What is Cyberstalking?
June 25, 2021
This radical new form of abuse is upon us. Educate yourself. It won't be long before you or someone you love is affected by some form of cyber harassment.
The internet has given predators the ability to terrorize their victims in a way never before conceived, except perhaps in science fiction. Imagine someone who can successfully infiltrate every aspect of your life--including your mind and your inner most thoughts--and there is nothing you can do. No way to prove it's happening, no witnesses to back you up and no way to make it stop, being stalked online is one of the most psychologically damaging experiences a human being can have.
According to cyber criminal psychologist Dr. Michael Nuccitelli, PsyD., the creator of the revolutionary concept iPredator, four out of five cyberstalking targets knows the assailant. This means they know more about them than just a credit card number. The more information that is known, like an email address for example, the more damage that can be done. All you need take over someone's life is their name, email address, phone number, a single connection to the same wifi network and malicious intent.
Cyberstalking is much different than physical stalking in that the online predator has full access to the victim's home, accounts, finances, private conversations, schedule and location at all times and is able to manipulate the target's access to safety, support, finances, friends and family while gaslighting them to make them feel crazy and alone.
Targets will experience different phases while they are being stalked. There can be long periods of "silence," where there is seemingly no stalking happening at all. This is a very dangerous time, as they are being surveilled and the stalker is gathering information. The cyberstalker will "allow" the target to invest time and energy setting up new accounts, getting new contact information and trying to reclaim their life. If the target makes too much progress, the cyberstalker will let them know he's still there. What this looks like depends on the type of iPredator they're dealing with and other clinical, behavioral and historical risk factors.
The Women's and Gender Center at Marshall University defines cyberstalking as the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other telecommunication technologies to harass or stalk another person. "It is not the mere annoyance of unsolicited e-mail. It is methodical, deliberate, and persistent. The communications, whether from someone known or unknown, do not stop even after the recipient has asked the sender to cease all contacts, and are often filled with inappropriate, and sometimes disturbing, content. Cyberstalking is an extension of the physical form of stalking." (www.marshall.edu/wcenter/stalking/cyberstalking/)
Cyberstalking an unprecdented form of abuse for which there is little understanding and few supports. The effects on targets are as serious, vast and varied as the tactics used against them. Please click 'next' to continue to the next article in this series.
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