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Monica Pignotti: Exposing Tactics of Cyber Abusers

Updated with new items added: September 25, 2010

To anyone who Googles my name, "Monica Pignotti" it will become all too obvious that I have been the target of a cyber-abuser for more than a year now because of a stand I have taking against certain interventions for children that I consider to be dangerous. I am taking on a certain therapy guru that most people are too afraid to deal with and and he and/or his followers and supporters have managed to successfully intimidate a number of people into silence. Hence, I am becoming an informal expert at the kinds of tactics they use. In this posting I will be listing some of them. Some of the tactics are modernized versions of age-old propaganda tactics.
Take negative events from a person's past, repeatedly highlight them and blow them all ouf of proportion, failing to note anything positive about the person. This is a well-known propaganda tactic. For example, many of the posts portray me as a "Scientologist" neglect…

Cyber Abuse: Monica Pignotti's Story Part I

Updated: September 1, 2010 [Part I will now appear at a later date than Part II because the article was updated to reflect what is currently happening - e.g. I had stated that no one had ever sued ACT and now that is no longer the case, hence the need for an update]

I am going to begin by telling my own story of what has been happening to me on the internet, to provide people with some context as to what is going on when they do Google searches on my name, Monica Pignotti. I am on the professional advisory board of an advocacy group for children, called Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT). The purpose of ACT, is basically to expose dangerous, harmful practices that are being delivered to children in the name of "therapy" and to advocate for the victims. Needless to say, the therapists who are being so exposed are not happy with ACT and some have fought back with vicious attacks on critics such as myself. However, everything on the ACT website has been thoroughly documente…

Charly Miller Responds to Lies and Disinformation Campaign Against Her

Update: Charly Miller's website is back up, thanks to the courage of Project DoD, who will not be intimidated by baseless threats.

Another target of the same disinformation campaign I have been subjected to is Charly Miller. The reason for this is that Charly Miller has an excellent website on restraint asphyxia filled with solid citations and evidence on the dangers of certain methods of restraint. Her resume reveals that she is very highly qualified in her field.

One of her webpages is about her views, as an expert on restraint asphyxia, on Ronald Federici's methods, as described in his book, Help for the Hopeless Child. To see the restraint method illustrated in Federici’s book, go to the book’s site on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Help-Hopeless-Child-Discussion-Post-Institutionalized/dp/0966710118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258578762&sr=8-2Click on “Look Inside” and search in the book for “SEQUENCE ONE HOLDING” and go to where this phrase appears on p…

How to help if someone you care about is being cyber-abused

One thing that has made this whole ordeal more difficult for me is when well-meaning people offer advice to me that is so far off the mark, that it only adds to the stress and isolation of the experience. Here are some things NOT to do:
Do not assume that you know all about this phenomenon. No one does. This is very new and common folk wisdom about what to do (e.g. do not ever respond to attackers) might not be the best choice. There is no real evidence that not responding to a cyber abuser will make that person stop. It depends on the situation and what the person's goal is. In my case, the goal is to make an example of me and intimidate me from speaking out against this particular abusive therapist. My colleagues are also being attacked and they have responded very little, if at all. I am in a situation where I am damned if I do and damned if I don't.
Whatever you do, do not respond publicly to the victim in a way that blames the person. However things may appear, remember tha…

Online Mobbing

I came across an online article on workplace mobbing, that perfectly describes situations that happen not only in the workplace, but also on the Internet. See:

http://counselingoutfitters.com/Housker.htm

What was especially of interest is the authors' notation of the fact that all too often the target gets blamed as if the person was deficient in some way for being a magnet for such bullies and that makes the person, who did not deserve this abuse in the first place, even more of a pariah. Here is what experts on this topic have found about who is likely to be a target and it really dispels some of the myths that are out there that blame the targets.

Targets of Mobbing
An individual can be mobbed regardless of age, race, religion, gender, or rank within an organization (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie and Namie 2000; Leymann, n.d.). Though any person is susceptible to being mobbed,those individuals who are devoted, loyal, creative, organized, cooperative and experie…

Definitions and Clarity

There are grave injustices occurring on both sides of this issue. On one end of the spectrum are libel laws such as those that as I understand it, exist in the UK that have the effect of silencing people who had, in my opinion, legitimate criticism such as Simon Singh. On the other end are people such as myself who are having our reputations ruined with libelous and defamatory postings on the internet and unless we are able to spend around $100,000 to sue and willing to be subjected to gross violations of privacy, are really powerless to do anything legally about it. Even for people who can afford it, sometimes the cure of suing is worse than the disease of having ones reputation damaged.

It occurred to me that both types of problems are due to a lack of clarity in definitions. I am not a lawyer and certainly no expert on the law, but the problem as I see it is more of a philosophical one than a legal one. It deals with very basic philosophical questions coming from the branch of phil…

Monica Pignotti's Story: Part II

I first became aware of the possibility of a smear campaign when one of the survivor whistle blowers who goes by the name, Wayward Radish (WR) posted an e-mail that she said she had received from one of the therapists who was being criticized by ACT, Ronald Federici, PsyD. WR posted the letter dated March 1, 2009, on her blog. In one paragraph, it stated:
While I am a patient man, my limits are about done as you have done some egregious things on this internet. I know all of your names, and could post what I know about your personal and family issues of atheism, scientology, handicaps, depression, mental health issues, sexuality, etc.
This is very similar to the "you're going down" posting described by Sue Scheff in her book that was a prelude to what she had to endure. At the time, I had no idea what was to come, but in fact, these "real, good people", whoever they are have indeed apparently given into their urges to "write more". They…

Purpose of this Blog

My name is Monica Pignotti and I started this blog to help raise the public's awareness on an issue of growing concern, that of abuse on the internet. Many people tend to laugh this off and blame the victims. However, since more and more innocent people are being targeted and having their lives ruined by this, I felt that it was time to speak out on this topic. I am one such person. You can read about what has been happening to me at this link. Although I am not at this point in time willing to concede that my attackers have succeeded in ruining my life, they certainly have been relentlessly trying to, for nearly a year. If you are tempted to laugh this off and think this is some kind of paranoid kooky notion, think again. These are real people with real lives that are being destroyed and the law has not yet caught up with this phenomenon.

On a professional level, as a mental health professional and scholar who is an advocate for evidence-based practice and science, this issue is e…