Friday, December 9, 2022

It’s Dangerous to Call People ‘Paranoid’ When Personal Security Is at Risk

It’s Dangerous to Call People ‘Paranoid’ When Personal Security Is at Risk

Our technological age has turned the word “paranoid” into one of the most dangerous words on the planet. This one simple word is re-victimizing women and children all over the world who are in extreme danger; leaving them wide open for further attacks and abuse.

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Domestic Abusers Who Stalk Are the Most Dangerous

50 percent of stalkers are “simple obsessional” stalkers. These are the most violent stalkers by percentage because they view their former lovers as a possession. Rejection isn’t something they will accept.

stalking stalker cyberstalkingSimple obsessional stalkers seek to regain control and power over their former partner.

Their behavior will escalate to harassment and violence toward the victim and the children they share if they lose contact with or control over their victim.

California, Nevada and a few others are among the only states that understand how dangerous stalkers are. However, it’s a well-known fact that all serial killers start out by first stalking their victims and their environment. Yet for some reason, even the most educated lawyers, judges, social workers and government officials can’t seem to make this connection.

Though all states have enacted general stalking laws, the majority of them will only act to protect a victim if the victim has recorded evidence of a verbal death threat, a verbal threat of violence or if the stalker has carried out another illegal act. If the victim and perpetrator were previously in a romantic relationship, the police, child welfare authorities and court systems almost always dismiss or excuse disturbingly predatory behavior and call the victim paranoid or over-reactive. Joseph A. Davis PhD wrote:

Due to the prior intimate relationship, stalking behavior is not readily recognized until a serious pattern has emerged.  Often excusing or dismissing stalking as retaliatory behavior coincidental to child custody battles or bitter divorce actions, victims are reluctant to report the conduct because their fears have not often been taken seriously by friends, family or law enforcement.

Cyberstalking Awareness

  • Did you know spy software  was released as early as 2010 that could be remotely installed on any computer and hidden without the owner’s consent? On June 2nd, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission barred the makers of The RemoteSpy Keylogger from marketing their product to consumers.
  • computer securityDid you know that most of the spyware marketed to consumers is the same spy software that the American police, FBI, CIA, British Interpol and other government intelligence agencies use?Extremely powerful surveillance platforms like FinFisher along with products from Hacking Team and FlexiSpy have been rebranded for the consumer market and sold to anyone for less than $100.
  • Did you know spyware installed on your computer or mobile device can record your phone conversations, text messages and emails? It can make copies of your files, make copies of the pictures you take, crack your passcodes, geo-track your location and activate your external mics and webcams to record your live conversations. It can then send daily or hourly logs of all this information to the person spying on you.
  • Did you know the average age for hackers in the UK is 17-years-old? However, ask any high school kid in the USA or the UK if they go to school with or know a hacker. Most will say, “Yes.”They will usually follow with a story about how they watched the kid hack a Facebook account or crack a classmate’s phone. Young hackers are extremely common. They routinely join street gangs to help stalk victims and commit fraud. They also work with local abusive husbands and boyfriends for pay.

hackers securityDomestic violence agency social workers and volunteers consistently report knowing victims who were being stalked on public transportation, at shopping malls, at restaurants and at churches etc. by their abusers; their abuser’s friends or their abuser’s fellow street gang members.

Yet the victims couldn’t accept that their stalkers were getting information about them through social media, hacked devices, hacked email accounts and because their abusers were soliciting information from their friends both on and offline via social engineering; (when stalkers/abusers manipulate the victim’s friends or associates to get them to divulge personal information about the victim).

It’s So Simple

“Are you on Facebook?”Cyberstalking paranoid

“Text me. I’ll save your number in my phone.”

Sound familiar?

For a victim, any invitation for digital communication can give a stalker access to their entire life.

“I don’t know why my phone won’t hold a charge.”

“My phone/computer/tablet has been running so slow. It’s taking forever to boot.”

Sound familiar?

Even something that may seem like a small technical glitch can mean there’s already spyware installed on a victim’s device.

The Difference Between, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Informed’

It’s important to change the terminology when talking about cyberstalking, stalking, cyberbullying, social engineering and related topics from “paranoia,” to “being informed.”

light bulb ideaLet’s say for example, you’re a graduating high school senior. You used to live in a small U.S. town that had a lot of white supremacist activity. A current classmate of another race tells you he plans to go to college in your old town. You warn him to be careful.

Your classmate says, “Oh you’re just being paranoid”, and walks away.

For some reason you never get to talk to him again and explain about the racism; or maybe he just didn’t care to listen to any of your advice.

Because of this, your classmate lacks the information he needs to make an educated decision. However, you had the information. You were “informed.” You weren’t “paranoid.”

It’s Important for Society to Stop Dismissing Reality

We love our technology, yes. We don’t want to think of life without our social media accounts and smartphones. In addition, these new forms of stalking and cyberviolence are new to society in general.

selfieHowever, in cases where domestic violence or stalking is reported, police, judges and lawmakers must begin to take it seriously. It’s also crucial for them to understand how technology fits into the equation.

  1. Cyberstalking is stalking.
  2. Domestic violence stalkers are simple obsessional stalkers.
  3. Simple obsessional stalkers are the most dangerous stalkers on the planet.

Every domestic violence victim’s report of physical stalking or cyberstalking should be investigated and taken seriously.

It’s important for officials to begin to face the facts that cyberstalking and social engineering are now forms of abuse that go along with every other form of domestic violence, because we live in a technological age.

It’s time to take stalking, cyberstalking and social engineering seriously and stop calling victims paranoid.

Do you think society is adequately aware and equipped to deal with these kinds of problems? Do you think police and government officials are doing enough to protect domestic violence victims from stalking, cyberstalking and social engineering? Let’s hear your thoughts.

Images via Pixabay, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Picserver and Max Pixel

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