Are You being Cyberstalked or Targeted by MRAs?

Are You Being Targeted? Here are some general strategies to consider. These suggestions are not in reference to any specific situation and are not intended to be legal advice.

1. Orient Yourself:  Read and download How to Destroy Someone’s Reputation with Google, January 27, 2014, by Matt Forney.  Warning: Use a proxy server to access Mr. Forney's site.

2. Find someone you trust to read, collect, and print out all online attacks on you for the period in which you are actively being attacked. Do not do this yourself to avoid being subjected to assaultive language. Collect all re-blogs on other MRA sites. In all google searches which may take you to an attacking site, use a proxy server

3. After you have had a chance to process what is occurring and have oriented yourself, collect from your files the names of the men participating in attacking you. This includes all men commenting on online posts which attack you. Have their online names googled to read other comments they have made, to determine the level of threat against you. Consider hiring a private investigator to identify the ringleaders and assess possible violence. Is the attack limited to online attacks, or is there a significant risk from any of the men of physical violence?

4. As soon as possible, remove all personal information on social media or other sites. Do not open emails from people you are unfamiliar with, and save all such unopened emails in a file for legal or other purposes. Screen your phone calls.

5. If you do identify any potential danger of violence from any of the men, such as previous instances of violence to others, threats to come to your home, drive to your workplace, accost you, or any other threat where physical contact may occur, take your file to your local law enforcement and request that a file be opened and ask for advice as to how to proceed. You may be advised to contact the FBI or contact a lawyer to obtain a restraining order

6. Have your friend search the reddit subreddit called "mensrights". If there is any posting which links to any of the attacking sites, have your friend read the links. If real-life information about your identity, location, etc., is being disseminated on a linked site, that site is a doxxing site and the post must be removed under reddit rules. Have your friend establish a temporary account on the subreddit under a pseudonym (IP's are not accessible to moderators and are kept confidential by the Admins of Reddit). Report to the moderators each posting linked to a doxxing site, and request that the original poster of the link, and the site, be banned. Also post, as a public comment to the original posting, that the posting has been reported for doxxing. If the comment has not been removed by the subreddit moderators within 24 hours, the post should be reported to Reddit Admins, with the comment that the subreddit moderators have failed to act on your report.

7. During the period of active attack, do not engage with the attackers unless you are in an exceptionally strong position, with the important exception that after you have formed an understanding of the pattern of attacks, you will need to demand that the attackers remove the attacks on their sites and cease and desist from carrying out their attacks immediately, or you will pursue your legal remedies. You can do this by posting your demand as a comment on the attacking site, using your online name and a proxy server. Avoid any private contact, especially email; make the demand a public demand. Stay objective, do not return any attacks or attempt to defend yourself, and do not give any information regarding the effects of the attacks. If you are unable to access the site or it is too stressful to do so, an attorney can write a letter to the owners of all doxxing sites making the demand for you.

8. If the sites do not remove the attacking posts and comments, consult with an attorney who specializes (in the U.S.) in tort law. The first consultation is usually free. Bring a friend to take notes. Bring a complete file of all attacks and a google search of your online and offline names. You may seek advice on some or all of the following:

Are the attacks legally actionable? Your lawyer can advise you whether some of the following causes of legal action, among the many possibilities depending on the attacks, may be appropriate:

1. Cyberstalkingcyberbullying, stalking (offline)
3. Libel
9. Civil or Criminal Assault
10. Sex Harassment or Discrimination -- Students
11. Sex Harassment or Discrimination in Employment by Federal Contractors

Should I Contact Other Women Who Have Been Attacked by the Same Potential Defendants?
Yes, for many reasons. Your lawyer may advise you of the possibility of joining in a class action with other women who have been attacked. You also may find personal support and practical information in discussing your situation with other women who have been attacked.

What does a lawsuit entail?
Discuss the fee structure and ask about the possibility of a contingency fee, in which the attorney takes a percentage of your award rather than requiring a retainer with hourly billing, or pro bono assistance. Ask about timing, other expenses, and whether the attorney knows of a public-interest group such as the ACLU or the Southern Poverty Law Center, or a women's organization, which might assist in the case. Discuss the stress of a lawsuit and any exposure you might have. Ask what other steps you should be taking while a lawsuit is being considered. Learn the applicable statutes of limitation for any cause of action you are considering, and what acts by the defendants constitute continuing acts, so that the statute of limitations is extended.

Should I hire a private investigator?
You may have already hired a private investigator to assess the level of potential violence of the attackers, by determining the real-life identities of the attackers and checking their criminal and other court and personal records. It is better not to do this yourself, as the process may be stressful.

An attorney may advise you to also investigate whether any of the potential defendants have sufficient assets to make a lawsuit worthwhile. Learn about execution of judgments: court orders requiring google and other servers to remove libelous listings, placing liens on assets; garnishment of wages; taking automobiles; restraining orders; and the availability of punitive damages as well as compensatory damages. In addition, if a lawsuit is considered, the defendant's status as an individual, partnership, association, or partnership should be determined. There may be other investigative needs, depending on your situation.

What other steps can I take?
You can hire a consultant to work on removing defamatory statements online and requesting that google and servers remove the listings of defamatory material. This is done most efficiently by experts, and you can find specialists by researching online. In general it is most efficient to have a court order available.

If your employer, neighbors, family members, or other associates are receiving or may receive defamatory information about you, notify them that you are being attacked by an apparent hate group because you are a woman online blogger or commenter, and ask them to relay to you any such material and to let you know if they are approached.

If you are followed, approached, photographed, and feel concerned at the possibility of violence, here are some general suggestions. Privately call your law enforcement emergency number. Privately take photographs of the men and any car license plates. While you wait for the police, if you feel able to safely do so, engage the men and attempt to keep them there so that they may be contacted and identified by police. Remain calm and do not offer any information or defense from whatever they are saying. After the police contact, file a complaint. Contact your attorney and get a restraining order. Of course, if you do not feel safe, leave the scene immediately and then call police.

Other steps you take will depend on your resources, experience, and the level of distress and fear you may be processing. Some women who have been attacked find that the attack has some positive consequences in teaching us to stand by our work, inform ourselves of the opposition, and stand with each other against such intimidation.

Prepared By: Vliet Tiptree, copyright 2014, all rights reserved, except that any feminist site has revocable permission to re-blog this material. Disclaimer: I am not active as an attorney. This is general information only. Consulting a licensed attorney is highly recommended.