In times past, groups that shunned got away with this form of ostracism and psychological abuse. They could inflict shunning on the vulnerable and the old control mechanisms worked perfectly well to propagate intolerance and dogmatism and an elitist worldview.
Members couldn't object or they would be shunned; the person being shunned could object all they liked, but who would be around to listen to them? Shunning was an effective tool of fear, control, coercion and silencing.
This, of course, served controlling groups perfectly--nothing like quashing and suppressing any other view that might threaten their bottom line.
The Internet is Exposing Shunning & Changing the Playing Field
In recent years, the bottom has fallen out. How so? With the advent of the Internet, the playing field has changed considerably.
How Exposure is Affecting Members
In times past, those who were indoctrinated, were insulated from any outside information that might challenge their beliefs around the practice of shunning--but now, by means of electronic media, they can access information from multiple sources and can do so away from prying eyes and fear of group reprisal. Having outside information at their fingertips has helped many to reevaluate and challenge the veracity and validity of shunning.
Even if they are hard-core shunners, they may still be exposed to information that in times past would have been largely hidden from view. So much information is readily available now that even if someone isn't actually looking for information about shunning, there's a good chance they may come across it accidentally. If they are doing searches about their own particular group, related information may be returned in search results.
How Exposure is Affecting Organizations
When you harm and impact huge numbers of people, when you take away their most important relationships and destroy their families, you are playing with fire. And in the age of virtual media, you now have a vast army of people who have nothing left to lose. They have already been subjected to censure and ostracization, so those control mechanisms are largely futile. By means of the world wide web, those who were formerly silenced can now speak up and speak freely, they can raise public awareness, they can now band together and advocate for change.
What all this means is that groups that formerly could inflict shunning on dissenters, largely unscrutinized by the rest of the world, now face exposure for their draconian policies.
Will Shunning Sound the Death Knell for High-Control Groups?
Shunning, and the harm it inflicts, is being exposed to an unprecedented degree, and the result is that people are awakening as to how control and indoctrination have served to keep them captive to harmful ideologies.
The resultant member-exodus is telling. Drops in both attendance and retention rates, reductions in donations are sending a powerful, if silent, message to various shunning groups around the world.
In some cases, law suits from former members have made an impact, and in recent years, organizations that shun have come under fire and increasing scrutiny for the way they treat members and non-members.
To be continued...
Shunning--God-Directed or Cult-Directed?
Disconnected = Will Shun.