Mandated shunning is the deliberate isolation of a former member by a high-control group
What is mandated shunning?
Mandated shunning occurs when an organization forces its members to ignore and isolate another member, due to ideological or theological differences. Mandated shunning even prohibits simple social gestures, such as saying ‘hi’ or sharing a meal. This practice is commonly used by high-control groups and cults to deter members from leaving the group or challenging its practices.
Some (religious) groups who practice mandated shunning, are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Exclusive Brethren, Amish, Bahá'í Faith, and Scientologists. Membership in just these six organizations numbers in the tens of millions worldwide.
Mandated shunning is a fundamental violation of the principles found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, it escapes prosecution because legal professionals are deceived into thinking that shunning is a personal decision instead of an enforced organizational practice.
Read more about mandated shunning here.
Why does it matter?
Mandated shunning is an inhumane practice and the ultimate form of "organized bullying". It can result in total isolation of an individual emotionally, financially, and physically. Those who are shunned face the impossible choice between their continued loss of personal liberty and the eradication of everything they know and love.
The impact of mandated shunning is particularly severe on people’s mental health and can lead to self-harm and suicide. It is especially harmful to minors, who may not know life outside the group. In addition to the horrible human suffering, mandated shunning also puts a financial burden on society. When just one person suffers long-term damage, the health care and loss of revenue can reach into the millions of dollars during that person’s lifetime, and tens of thousands are suffering.
What are we doing about it?
The "Shunning is a Crime" initiative draws together global experts, legal professionals, survivors, victims and activists. Our goal is to convince the world, one country at a time, about the scope and magnitude of the harm caused by mandated shunning. Using data-driven evidence, we aim to convince judges, government officials and attorneys of the harm and distress caused by this inhumane practice, and to get mandated shunning enshrined into international law as an illegal practice.