Most people are familiar with the feeling of being stalked. An unnerving feeling of having a person watch your daily moves, practice covert surveillance and gather information about your life without ever revealing their efforts.
Some of us are unlucky enough to have been stalked or bullied by a former friend, partner, school mate or colleague. This person lurks in the shadows, menacing the victim. Their intent is not for direct confrontation, but to undermine mental stability and create panic which results in self destruction. It is a cowardly method of attack, but very effective.
Anti-salmon farming activist Alexandra Morton has stalked salmon farmers for most of her lifetime.
Not all salmon farmers in BC are susceptible to her attacks, but some are extremely vulnerable. Young men and women, First Nation employees, workers that live in small island communities, and the employees who work and live at remote salmon farms far removed from their families. These employees are scared to leave their float house, and to be photographed from a distance by Morton’s telephoto lens, to be identified and shamed in public. They are nervous at their workplace on the open ocean, and at their homes.
Not that Morton will ever physically or verbally attack salmon farmers. Quite the opposite. She is polite, respectful, even gracious in her interactions with staff. For the goal of a stalker is never direct confrontation, it is to watch the prey lose its nerves and stop functioning.
Morton is too familiar with the courts to put herself on the wrong side of the law, unless it is an arrest that will win her public sympathy. She’ll never be charged with a violent crime. She’s not about to get charged for sexual harassment either. However, earlier this year she took and published a photo of a female employee in a vulnerable position. She invited an online discussion of the photo containing many sexist and derogatory comments about this employee. She only posts the photo, and lets her congregation do the dirty work.
And while Morton may not physically or verbally attack her victim, her Facebook followers scramble to express their allegiance to her in very concerning ways.
This is Canada, 2017. We should not, and do not, tolerate individuals causing fear through bullying, harassment, intimidation or stalking.