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Tuesday 12 February 2013

Stalking And Bullying – Some Home Truths

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things ...” – Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter

Having a presence online brings all manner of benefits: ease of communication, speedy information passing and dissemination, the ability to get to the fact of the matter, keeping in touch – but there are also downsides, and here we come to the world of the bully and stalker.

Some out there use the terms “bully”, and especially “stalker”, merely because they are otherwise incapable of dealing with anyone taking the piss or calling them out for bad behaviour. Others use the same terms to soften up targets before indulging in a little bullying and stalking of their own.

The seasoned practitioner of these singularly unsavoury habits therefore deploys all manner of pejorative language against his (it’s usually a he) chosen victim: “stalker ... bully ... scum (which may be “vile”) ... vermin ... poisonous  ... coward ... sad ... oddball ... loser ... deluded ... troll” are commonly used.

Having established this carpet bombing of abuse, the bully and stalker then gets to work to seriously soften up his target, and the really creepy and obsessive nature of the beast becomes clear. He knows where you live. He knows who else lives there. He knows about your family. He knows your itinerary.

Why should he do this? The reasons are straightforward: first and foremost this is done to demonstrate control, to gain recognition and status from his chosen peer group, and as revenge for some perceived slight. The last is not dissimilar to the gang member engaging in gratuitous violence to right his being “disrespected”.

Not, of course, that the bully and stalker eschews violence, or at least the talk of it: as he knows where you live, there will routinely be threats of “visits”, talk of “one-on-one”, offers to others to give out your address, while all the time maintaining the pretence that he, and others he co-opts willingly or otherwise, are the victims.

And, despite his behaviour verging on the illegal, the bully and stalker will build the pretence that his targets should have the law turned on them. So there will be more offers of address publication, the excuse being that the target has been defaming or abusing others. Talk of legal action is routine.

This may seem to some to be beyond the limits of rational behaviour, but then, the bully and stalker is not concerned with such trivialities: he is driven to control his targets, bend them to his will, and demonstrate this to his peers. For grinding them into the ground, he hopes to gain favour and prestige.

But, sadly, there is no honour among thieves, and he will find he’s just being used.

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