Each month is dedicated to some cause now. For me October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, April is dedicated to National Assault Awareness Month, but this month it is National Stalking Awareness Month which impacts 1 in 6 women and 1-in 19 men.
That’s a lot of people here in the US!
Think about how many people you know friends, family, in the work place. At some point of them, maybe even you have been or will be effected by someone stalking them. Those are frightening figures.
A stalker is terrifying, you lose all sense of freedom when you are wondering if they are watching you and when.. Are they watching you when you have dinner with friends? Calling you constantly?Does your inbox constantly get bombarded with messages from them? Or Twitter, Facebook… Any social media? Are they watching you while you go about your daily life in your own safe home?
It usually starts with the phone calls. The endless calls, when the phone rings and you recognize the phone number.
How to recognize a stalker:
- You go to your local stores and they ‘accidentally’ run into you and try to start conversation.
- You are driving and you look in the rear mirror, only to see that they are two cars behind you.
- It is late at night, you look out of your window and their car is down the road parked, engine and lights off, in total darkness.
- They call at your house wanting to talk to you, to reconcile the relationship.
- You find messages, emails, letters, gifts and small packages left for you.
- They start to threaten you and your loved ones.
It makes you feel vulnerable, stressed, fearful and threatened. Your privacy is gone and you have a stalker.
Stalkers have different psyches. It can be the jilted lover, husband or wife. It can be a co-worker, an admirer or friend, a social media ‘friend’. They come from all occupations and lifestyles.
What to do if you have a stalker:
- Make sure safety is paramount in your home, check the locks on all doors and window locks work etc. and the phone cable outside is out of reach.
- Rally your friends, family and co-workers for help and support.
- Keep a journal of all the events
- Get an additional phone number and keep it private. You must keep the old number and let it go to voice-mail, do not answer it or engage in conversation at all.
- If it is an ex-lover, calmly and politely tell them you are not interested. Do not get angry or shout this can acerbate the situation.
- Inform the police. Every state has Stalking Laws; I know the UK calls them Harassment Laws, this I know as the police told me I would be one of the first to use it when it passed in June 1997. (It worked too; my stalker was found guilty and now has a criminal record)
- Find a network or group in your area to help you.
- One of the first options you will be given is an Order of Protection, or a Restraining Order. This can work, but it can also push them over the edge to be violent or make them more determined.
- Always before starting a relationship, trust your instincts, if they say run, then run. Never communicate, talk or respond to a stalker. They can become violent and murderous.
I list all the above to help people understand what it means. The word ‘Stalker’ is banded around as a flippant joke, but when it happens to you, it is debilitating and frightening, even those of us who know we are strong and tough!
When it happened to me, I took all the advice I could and when it didn’t stop, I was strongly advised by the police that I sell my home and move away, far away…350 miles difference in fact (Which in the UK is regarded as far!). When a police officer tells you he believes your stalker has murderous intent, you tend to make plans to move quickly! It didn’t stop until after the court case. I still received phone calls at my new place of work, but when the Magistrates Court declared him guilty and threatened him with imprisonment. It stopped.
If you have a stalker please don’t think you can handle it all by yourself. Get help! There are people out there dedicated to helping you. You do not have to go through it on your own, terrified. Know you are not alone!
As the National Stalking Organization says:
Stalking: Know it, Name it, stop it!
- Stalkers find friend in GPS technology (kansascity.com)
- Local counseling center works to shed light on stalking during national awareness month (ktbs.com)
- New Law To Tackle Stalkers Comes Into Effect (news.sky.com)
- Scotland’s oldest sex stalker confesses to preying on second elderly victim (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Stalkers face five years in jail to curb risk of them turning violent (thetimes.co.uk)
- Do the new stalking laws show we are taking this crime seriously? (guardian.co.uk)
- Stalking Bloggers in 2013 (breezybooksblog.wordpress.com)
- #India -The Bitter Truth Regarding Delhi Police’s Womens’ Help-Line #Vaw #Justice (kractivist.wordpress.com)