The man said to every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.
So it is that in contrast to our hyper-protectiveness of children, as soon as we turn 18 we become fair game for the worst behavior.
Imagine that your life was a game played by a lot of people, a game of “keep away,” where everybody except you knows that you are the target. The goal: for you to guess the rules of the game. And then somehow to survive it.
The game is called mobbing or group-stalking. The players pile onto the target many small, seemingly random acts of harassment (actions intended to annoy, hurt or upset) that can quickly and easily make your life a living hell. For example:
Three teenage boys scream loudly in your ear as they walk past you. Later someone bumps into you hard, nearly knocking you down. Still later you hear someone mimicking the startled exclamation you spoke when you were hit. Your website is hacked; words have been added, or removed, and the layout changed. A couple days later you hear someone repeating words you wrote in your journal on your computer.
You find things in your house have been moved around. And you don’t own a lot of clutter, so that’s something you notice. Strangers accost you everywhere you go -- they take your picture, make startling noises, jump suddenly into your path. You have an acquaintance named Hunter who one day wears a t-shirt that says “Relax and enjoy it.” Later you see a website with a person whose online name is “Obi Quiet Hunter.” Try confronting the mobbers, if you can, and they just act innocent, while smirking at you the whole time; they know they are safe because their abuse is impossible to prove.
The many interconnected incidents happen too often to be random, and their cumulative effect is poisonous. You question your sanity. You become afraid to leave the house. You contact the police but nothing can be done. They even make fun of you. When I spoke with Lt. Brent Oberholtzer of Lancaster city police he widened his eyes and said, “Lynn, was your car moved?” Yes, I said, amazed that he knew that once in Mt. Gretna my car had been moved. What monstrous nonsense.
Every incident has a long, involved back story. Try describing mobbing to a friend (who are your friends, by the way?) and you just sound mad. This is why I call it the “Silent Religion.” In a world where people yak about everything, you literally can’t talk about the chainlink violence of group-stalking.
Why do people violate the human spirit in this way? What reason could possibly justify torture? People do it because they can. Because they love games. Because they crave anything that makes them laugh, no matter how perverse. Because it’s something to do besides worrying about the many cares we all carry.
Life’s many stresses can poison our hearts. That energy is poured into the person who is targeted for mobbing. I am a sort of chalice, a vessel for that grief. What I do with that energy is up to me.
For me, the extreme pain of being a target, when talk brought no relief, was converted into screaming, which I then transformed into singing. And then, following an especially bad mobbing assault last May, into writing. Although writing has always been part of my life -- I was a reporter for Lancaster Newspapers from 1994 to 1999 -- this writing is a child born of violence. So is the singing.
There must be a better way.
Never again should this ever be done to anybody. Period. Instead of squandering time on the ugly drama of mobbing, no matter how titillating it may be, people can be doing something unsexy yet beautiful and productive to help make the world better.
Every child knows what is good and right. Stick to that better way.