Character assassination is far more common than most people realize and knowing about it is one way to help stop it. Though you may never personally experience this, it is always helpful to learn as much as you can about issues like this because they can quickly happen to you. There are a few basics that you should understand to learn just what character assassination is and why it is so dangerous.
Character Assassination Definition
Understanding the term is half the battle; to assassinate someone means to kill, to take life in an underhanded way. To assassinate someone’s character means to kill or damage their character by any means possible. This can be something as simple as calling them names to something as complicated as fabricating stories about them to keep them from advancing or living a good life. Character assassination is far more dangerous than you might imagine.
Who Uses Character Assassination and Why?
Lawyers, exes, and anyone that is trying to make your life harder are likely to use this technique to make you look like a bad person making it easy for them to take advantage of you and get what they want. In the case of lawyers, in many cases, those lawyers that are trying to make a case for one side or another will assassinate the character of the opposing side to make themselves or their client look better. This is most commonly seen in cases of rape where the sexual history of the victim is paraded in front of the court to help break down credibility and make the jury think one way or other about the victim.
In the case of an ex this is often used in cases of child support, child custody, or domestic disputes after someone has broken up with someone else. In many cases of child support or child custody, each parent will try to make the other look as bad as possible to get the outcome they want. This is not good for the parties involved and is especially not good for the children involved and should be avoided at all costs. This may also be used to make a former partner look bad in front or prospective dates or other people.
Character assassination can also take place in everyday life and may have nothing to do with legal action. In these cases it is often referred to as spreading rumors or as bullying rather than the technical term. It is helpful to take a closer look at this aspect of the phenomena. Typical bullying in schools is actually a very common form of character assassination.
Character Assassination and Bullying
In many instances this is the most common type of character assassination across the board. In many cases, bullies are participating in character assassination without even knowing it. This can be anything from spreading rumors to outright lying about someone to gain something. In most cases, bullies do not realize that spreading rumors, calling names, and lying about other people is actually a form of character assassination in which the reputation of the person being attacked is being damaged.
In many cases, including some that have gotten in the news, there are deadly consequences to character assassination and bullying. With the popularity of social media skyrocketing, there is really no place for teens to escape the bullying. There are now more young people taking their own lives as a result of character assassination and bullying than ever before. The most shocking statistic however is that the age of the individuals taking their own lives is getting steadily younger.
One case that is notable this year is that of a 13 year old named Ciara Pugsley who committed suicide near her home in Ireland after bullies called her slut, ugly, and other defaming things on her Ask.fm page. Another Irish teen that took her own life is Erin Gallagher who was only 13 and also bullied on her Ask.fm page. Another teen that was only 16 in Florida, Jessica Laney killed herself after being bullied on Ask.fm. In a case where friends received the bullying instead of the intended after the page was taken down was that of 16 year old Anthony Stubbs who had a baby and a seemingly good life. After his hanging death his girlfriend started getting harassed, she then deactivated her Ask.fm page and her friend started getting bullied in her place.
Still another instance where a young person took their own life as a result of character assassination is Daniel Perry, this 17 year old was bright by all accounts but he was being black mailed on Skype and harassed on Ask.fm. Another bright young person that was affected by character assassination and took their own life was Hannah Smith. She even went so far as to send messages to herself about how awful she was which lead to her suicide.
Character Assassination Techniques
There are a few different techniques that are all considered character assassination and each is dependent on the situation. There are a wide range of methods and each has a specific use. First off, there is character assassination of a sexual nature. This is any instance in which the person being attacked is called names that have to do with their sexual orientation, their history, or how other people see them in a sexual light. This can be something as simple and hurtful as calling someone a slut or accusing them of sleeping with someone. It can also be as serious as claiming that someone did something of a sexual nature that was illegal, that they have had sex with a large number of people, or that they have some other perversion that they do not in fact possess.
Another technique is to claim that someone has done something they have not. This means often outright lying about what has happened and what you claim to have seen. This is often used by people that want others to believe that someone has done something they have not. This is also quite common and can be spotted by the way that the accuser acts. In most cases, the lies will become elaborate enough that they become hard to maintain making it easy to crack the façade.
Still another technique is a bit less involved and centers around nothing more than a simple suggestion. In this case, the person spreading the lie or rumors will do nothing more than simply suggest something allowing others to run with the idea that they have planted. Character assassination is far easier to take part in than most people even realize. Just spreading or perpetuating a rumor after it has been started is in fact a method of character assassination and should be avoided.
What Should I Do?
In most cases people will tell you that if you know the truth that is enough, however, in some cases this is not enough. It is far easier said to ignore the people that spread rumors than it is done. In some cases, you may be able to talk to the person that is spreading the rumors to see just why they are doing it. You may also be able to take the issue to someone that is in authority that can help stop the issue.
In legal cases it is important to simply keep your wits about you and tell the truth. It is always best to make sure you tell the truth and work to make sure that even though the other side is saying what they want, you prove to the people that are important that the issue is not what they think.
It is also important to remember that when someone is spreading rumors or trying to assassinate your character they are likely having trouble on their own. In most cases bullies are insecure themselves and need reassurance that they are worth something. In many cases, those that are seeking to assassinate your character are struggling and may need nothing more than a helping hand or someone to talk to. Though it may be hard to imagine that someone that calls you names or tries to make you look bad needs help, they are often nowhere near as tough as they seem and bullying is not all that it may seem.
If you are begin bullied talk to someone, do not resort to something like suicide or hurting yourself as there is always something better out there for you.