Like a typical abuser, cyber abusers expect the victim to remain a victim, quietly slink away and not assert themselves. What happens when the victim defies convention and chooses to assert herself, as I have? The result is similar to the way a typical real life abuser responds. He/she attempts to reframe things with the following types of responses, characterizing the victim’s fighting back as:
- Shrill (commonly used by sexists against females who dare to assert themselves — rarely are males ever described as “shrill”)
- Mentally unbalanced
- Making unreasonable “demands”
- Being a “conspiracy” theorist
- Being narcissistic
- Being a drama queen
- Being selfish
- Being an attention whore (internet jargon for someone who needs attention, which is the equivalent of saying a rape victim was asking for it]
- Use sock puppets to make it appear that the victim is being ganged up on when really it is only a few people who are running the smear campaign.
- Attempt to portray the victim as an “internet addict,” say that the person has a lot of time on her hands (ironic, given the amount of time and effort the cyber abuser is going to, to smear the person) or showing how many postings the person made, neglecting to mention they were responses to the equally many posts the cyber abuser has made.
- Attempt to reframe any support the person gets as being done in exchange for sexual favors (in my case this has gotten to be absurd, as a statement of support from many prominent mental health professionals I will soon be posting, which includes heterosexual females, will indicate).
- If all else fails, sue the victim with a SLAPP lawsuit
- Or if there was a sexual relationship between the abuser and victim and worse, if they had a child together, suing the woman for custody and use the child as a weapon (although this obviously does not apply in my case I have counseled women in the past who have been through that kind of situation).
These are just a few ways cyber abusers and cyber stalkers attempt to rip away from the victim the right to defend him or herself. All of these things could discourage the victim from taking a proactive stand against the abuser and defend herself. See it and call it what it is. Don’t fall for it.