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I live and Toronto and for the past 26 months have experienced what I have recently come to understand bears at least some of the characteristics of "ritual abuse." My experiences began to the day -- and certainly to the week - that I mentioned to someone that I was going to file a human rights complaint against a former employer. What I noticed in August 2001 was some minor incidents in which I was being followed by three or four people over the course of two successive weekends. This really started to escalate however, in September of 2001 as I became more expressly aggressive about putting the formal complaint forward and as the deadline approached.

While there are many things that I have experienced over these 26 months (and actually, I endured other forms of harassment since November 1996 in the industry, I will try to put some of them in very broad categories. One of the most notable things that I have experienced is being followed by large groups of people. This would manifest itself in the following ways: being constantly tail-gated while I drive and simultaneously having high-beam car lights blearred in my fact (often from many directions at once). It has also taken the form of being "swarmed" by dozens (if not hundreds) of cars as I drive, or people when in a restaurant, in a grocery store or walking down a public street.

A neighbour confirmed that she saw "strange cars" parked on our street when this first started. While talking to a friend on the phone at about the same time one evening, we both heard a series of protracted, aggressive "clicking" sounds on the phone; my friend eventually said to me, "they're telling you they're taping." During the same week, I heard at least one person walking on my roof in the middle of the night; after listening for a while, it sounded like the voices of at least two males outside my home. I have had my mail opened for at least a short period of time. Members of my family have also experienced some form of being followed. One day while on the internet, an imbedded message appeared on my screen; it read, "we scare because we care." I have also had vicious, malicious rumours spread about me, features of this kind of abuse that I understand is often associated with ritual abuse.

There is much, much, much more to be said. But there is not enough time or room to reel off all of the experiences that I have had. I am a qualified accountant who has completed many advanced-level investment courses but has been out of work for just over a year. This is also not the first time that I have been unemployed during the past seven years that I have worked in the industry in question. I have a strong work ethic and am a loyal, honest person with good verbal and written references. However, I have not been able to obtain appropriate employment despite going to a number of interviews, at least some of which go very well (impressions of mine that have been confirmed by some of the interviewers).

What I currently do not understand is why there appears to be reluctance by some to expand the ritual abuse phenomenon beyond child abuse. I have never experienced anytime like this before even though I am an adult woman. The literature on ritual abuse does not limit it to children and I have personally spoken to women who relate stories of going through this kind of torture in their adult years.

One woman I spoke to in Toronto told me that she was a ritual abuse "survivor." She said that she had done a lot of research on the topic and that she found that it is often associated with old, powerful industries. She also mentioned that her research indicated that it "came from the 'white' countries"and that many women had gone through this. What she has said and what I have read in the literature relates to my experience, an experience that has nothing to do with childhood. I have noticed that a lot of the people involved in my situation (at least those carrying this out on a daily basis) are disenfranchised "white supremists," mostly males. That confirms what I have seen on at least one website. I have also found from at least one source that this type of harassment is often experienced by those who are seen to be "whistleblowers," "trouble makers" or "dissidents" of some kind.

The literature also shows in parts that those associated with ritual abuse often are "white supremists" as well as large corporations and "the mafia." With respect to the last point, there have been many times when I have been followed by people who appear to be "mobsters." They often drive around in non-descript box-trucks and look like they clearly have criminal backgrounds.

What is now going on with this ritual abuse debate? It reminds me of what must have been the beginnings of this debate (one that continues to this day) with those staunch advocates for its occurrence on one side and those against on the other. Are people like me being used as "pawns" to further others' agendas: are proponents deciding to only tackle this huge problem one piece at a time and leaving other significant parts of this issue out of the picture for now? Or are there people out there with dishonest purposes, employing some kind of "smoke and mirrors" strategy to deflect attention away from just how large the issue to ritual abuse is? I am certain that there must be a number of dishonest people out there trying to pass themselves off as proponents of the ritual abuse debate when they are actually trying to de-rail efforts at having this topic come to others' full attention.

I know that I have spoken to a number of women who report similar types of stalking and abuse. I would appreciate any honest feedback and input that you can provide. Thank you for your consideration.

Received 11-14-2003