Readings on how to live life under permanent threat
December 23, 2019 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Ive got a harasser who is probably never going to stop. It’s been years now. They’re smart enough to exploit loopholes in the law, but I am pursuing legal action, criminal and civil. I’m looking for readings on how to continue to live life if I *can’t* manage to neutralise the threat.

It’s surprising to me that this is so tough to google! Or to talk about. I guess our society isn’t equipped to have a conversation about this kind of permanent threat. The harassment in this case is not direct to me but is reputational damage; if I’m not able to neutralize the threat it’s going to be tough for me to find work. Fear is driving me to some bad mental health places. I’m in therapy and I have medication, I exercise and eat healthily and do all the self care stuff.

To supplement all these efforts I would like to read in any discipline, fiction, non fiction, scientific studies, first person narratives, or what have you, about people who have survived and lived well under permanent, specific threat.
posted by The Last Sockpuppet to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
White supremacists 'swatted' my home to silence me. I will not be silent (Ijeoma Oluo, Guardian Opinion)

Who Does She Think She Is? (Laurie Penny, Longreads) (via PEN America Online Harassment Field Manual)

Heartmob also lists supportive organizations that offer resources for individuals experiencing online harassment (via MeFi Wiki ThereIsHelp)
posted by katra at 5:34 PM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]

It's not exactly the same situation, but I wonder if there are some resonances with the fear felt by dissidents and others living in totalitarian regimes. Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago shows every variation on people fearing physical harm but also the loss of reputation and relationships. Julian Barnes's The Noise of Time is a fictionalization of the life of Shostakovitch that imagines what it must have been like to be a great composer who went to bed in his clothes every night so that he wouldn't have to wake up his family if the secret police came for him.
posted by sy at 5:46 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is this online harassment? I work in domestic violence and depending on your situation, might have some resources that could help you, even if this isn’t a domestic abuse situation. This page has a lot of links to good information. Items 3, 8, and 12, particularly.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:57 PM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Catfishing on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer is a recent ya fiction where the characters have been on the run from a harasser most of the main character’s life
posted by azalea_chant at 10:53 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

I hope this is a useful resource for you, it's from the speech project.
posted by speakeasy at 12:22 AM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

The PEN America Online Harassment Field Manual also offers Stories of Survival:
Storytelling creates solidarity, offers insight, serves as a launching point for important movements and conversations, and most importantly, makes people feel less alone. Since this Field Manual exists explicitly for writers and journalists—our ultimate storytellers—we wanted to offer a glimpse into the lives and perspectives of actual workaday writers who have been targeted by online harassment and survived to write another day. These stories are not glamorous, and don’t necessarily result in historic feats against vanquished trolls (although some do!), but they reveal important, honest insights into online harassment from a variety of viewpoints, with useful tips and strategies sprinkled throughout.
posted by katra at 4:36 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Why Gaming Culture Allows Abuse… and How We Can Stop It (Katherine Cross, Bitch Media) (via Understanding Online Harassment, Feminist Frequency, via Leigh Honeywell, Staying Safe When You Say #MeToo, ACLU)
It’s still only just a beginning, with a lot more work to be done and a lot more hell to be endured, I fear, but we are reaching a point where the classic model of unaccountability that the real/unreal dyad has produced in cyberspace is at last being robustly challenged on all fronts, in increasingly high-profile and public ways. As gaming becomes a significant part of public and artistic life, feminists, antiracists, disability advocates, and LGBTQ activists have all been able to effect major changes.
Staying Safe When You Say #MeToo (Leigh Honeywell, ACLU)
I’ve also been a sexual-misconduct whistleblower myself, so I know the personal cost of speaking out. People often feel powerless in the face of unknown threats from the internet, but there’s a lot that whistleblowers can do to stay safe while coming forward.
posted by katra at 10:18 AM on December 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Carole Cadwalladr: How Online Abuse Affected My Life - BBC Click (YouTube, Aug 9, 2019)
Carole Cadwalladr is the journalist who brought the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story to the mainstream. Despite suffering online abuse as a result, she continues to campaign to get Facebook to reveal more details about how users' data was used during the EU Referendum.
posted by katra at 2:04 PM on February 29

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