Potentially, anyone – from the young to not so young – can become the target of a determined and fixated stalker. And the advent of the internet in general and social media in particular makes it that much easier to track one’s prey. Stalk. Apparently, a preponderance are blithely unaware of who (or what) may lie in wait. Know that female stalkers can be every bit as dangerous as their male counterparts. Hair-raising.
Not only that, whenever the topic of stalking is addressed, it is usually too little too late. This is the case, most especially, for the kiddies who fall prey to online pedophiles. In other words, typically, the person’s death (or grievous injury) is retold on a crime-oriented youtube channel or the like. Inexplicably, until recently, few resources have been dedicated to preventative measures. Regrettably, it is still easy for stalkers to zero in and latch on, primarily, due to directional markers ala the internet.
As mentioned, it is not just the kiddies who are victimized. In reality, stalkers operate offline too, in conjunction with an explosive online presence. So due to their wide berth and net (no pun intended), this subject merits a laser focus; a multi-tiered one. Wait and see.
While readers who are familiar with my profile will initially assume that the aforementioned is simply an outgrowth of this and that investigation, said assumption is only partially correct.
Inextricably, certain investigations trigger heat toward my end. It goes with the territory. Tellingly, in Nov. 2016, it became necessary to “turn the tables”, so to speak. To wit, I was “advised” to expose particular (Mohammedan) stalkers at “WACDI.NET, Islamic Fatwa-Driven Site, Features WND’s (World Net Daily) Interview With Adina Kutnicki – What Are They Up To?“
Even so, as stated, my interest in this topic is multi-tiered. As luck would have it, it was a few months beforehand that “my Doc” entered my life. And like in any budding relationship, slowly, we began opening up to one another.
Resultant, it is with his express permission and blessing that the following (excerpted) expose’, “When Is It Time To Erase Ones Digital Footprints?” developed – as an “opening shot” into this shadowy and lesser-known arena.
- In this regard, how many realize that dedicating oneself to saving lives – chiefly, in the medical/surgical arena – can be dangerous to one’s well-being? Believe it.
- But without going into too many specifics, two male physicians (one, a long-standing friend, an ENT specialist, the second, my significant other, a surgeon) have been stalked – online and offline – by former patients who became fixated on their “saviors.” Ingrates. Nuts.
- It came to a point where they had to call in the police (respectively, the LAPD and NYPD, plus other private resources) to keep their (female) stalkers at bay. Rest assured, they join a growing list of victimized physicians. And while their predators used different tactics, this is where they aligned: whatever it took, they refused to be ignored and leave the objects of their obsession alone. Full-on.
- Noteworthy, irrespective of location, one can be targeted. Effectively, whether practicing in a big city or a small town, it makes no difference. Stalkers aren’t location-centric.
- At the end of it all, the aforementioned ENT decided to keep his online footprints, despite being advised otherwise. Already coined a “Top Doc” in LA, it wouldn’t have impacted his practice. Alas, as usual, he is stubborn like a mule. Arrogantly, he thinks he knows better than the professionals he hired! So, while police pressure and such kept his stalker in line for several months, once again – within the space of a year – she started up. As warned that she would, doggedly, she kept track of him online, making it that much easier to continue her hunt. For the record, as of late, she is “quiet”, but who knows for how long.
- As to “my Doc”, he listened to all of the recommendations – both from the NYPD and his investigative team, unarguably, a top-tier forensic outfit. Atop their “to-do” list: engineering/hacking wizards “erased” him ….down the rabbit hole. For several years, she is hide nor hair……
Regardless of these two cases of personal interest, stats are stats. They dare not be ignored by the wider public. Thus, consider some sobering facts and truths. Mind you, it is understood that stalking didn’t start with the internet. However, its inherent dangers have risen exponentially due to readily available digital footprints. No doubt.
The sobering stats:
More than 20% of physicians say they have been stalked by a current or former patient, according to a survey presented at the American Psychiatric Association‘s annual meeting.
In an online survey, Penn State University Medical Center researchers asked 597 physicians and residents at two Pennsylvania hospitals about their experiences with 10 patient stalking behaviors:
- 1. Spying or surveillance;
- 2. Following;
- 3. Loitering;
- 4. Unwanted personal approaches;
- 5. Unwanted phone calls;
- 6. Unwanted written communication;
- 7. Sending offensive materials;
- 8. Ordering or cancelling services or goods;
- 9. Spreading rumors; and
- 10. Interfering with property.
Based on the responses, the researchers found that:
- 38.7% of physicians have experienced at least of the 10 stalking behaviors; and
- 20.6% had at least one patient who exhibiting stalking behaviors at least three times.
According to the surveyed physicians, the most common stalking behaviors in patients are unsolicited phone calls, letters, faxes, and emails. Meanwhile, unwanted personal approaches and loitering were among the least common behaviors.
Who stalks physicians
The survey found no clear pattern in patients’ motivations for stalking. Altogether, the survey found that only 40% of stalked physicians thought their stalker was mentally ill. It also found that:
- 30% of stalked physicians thought their stalker liked or was in love with them;
- 21% thought their stalker was motivated by revenge or punishment; and
- Nearly 50% had no idea why they were being stalked or offered no explanation in the survey.
Which physicians are stalked
The survey found that male and female physicians report stalking at about the same rate, although female doctors mostly reported male stalkers while men reported being stalked by men and women equally.
No specialty was particularly prone to stalking in the survey.
About 11% of the survey respondents said they considered quitting as a result of stalking, and 7% said they considered changing specialties.
The survey also found that:
- 26% of physicians increased security at home;
- 24% increased security at work;
- 16% contacted the police;
- 14% contacted an attorney;
- 11% changed their phone numbers;
- 9% went out less often; and
- 2% moved out of their homes (Gever, MedPage Today, 5/8).
Lesson learned: in a (psychiatric) word, think: transference. Concretely, the patient transfers their affections to (the “god-like” figure of) their doctor….
Therefore, the next time you hear about someone “erasing” their footprints – going through great pains to become “invisible” – know that it is not for nothing, be they a physician or anyone else.
To be sure, here’s the irony: whereas “my Doc” is in a profession most would think is safe and impenetrable, still, his footprints needed to be “erased.” Statistically, his case is far from singular. On the other hand, as an investigative journalist, blogger, book author and reviewer – coupled with a widely-read online interview presence – it is virtually impossible to do my work without (mega) footprints. In fact, my imprint has reached into the millions – and climbing. Regardless, he is incredibly supportive, although (quietly) apprehensive.
Concretely, as a knock-on effect to the above (other than utilizing highly-protected email, as well as password-driven sites related to his work in cardio-thoracic surgery, with add-on firewall protections to shield his privacy), he is an online “ghost.”
Thankfully, like most optimists, he manages to see a silver lining. Simply, he is a “glass half full” type of guy. Basically, instead of spending precious free time on social media and this and that online back and forth, he concentrates on other passions – whatever they may be.
Conclusively, others would be well-advised to give it a try, especially, if their work isn’t online-driven.
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