A stalker is someone that willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another (person) and makes a credible threat accompanied by the intent to place the victim in fear for their personal safety.
High-profile cases of celebrities being stalked by ex-lovers, out of control fans or paparazzi have raised the public's concern to this crime. However the majority of stalking victims are ordinary people, mostly women which are being pursued and threatened by someone with whom they have had a prior relationship.
Over one million women and 350,000 men are stalking victims each year, 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be a stalking victim during their lifetime. With these types of numbers we are hard pressed to control this growing crisis, statistics and research show that stalking cases are rising annually.
Stalking victims are in a state of constant fear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The ongoing nature of being a stalking victim can cause traumatic psychological damage to the victim.
If you feel that you are a victim of a stalker there are precautions to take to protect yourself, these tips are for someone who may find themselves in present danger from a stalker.
· Find a safe place such as a police station, well lit and well populated public areas, your home or family members home, or the local shelter.
Contact Law enforcement officials immediately or as soon as possible dial 911.
If you need help, ask for it!
Do not ignore the stalker; He / She will not go away. Be alert at all times.
Do not confront the perpetrator. You do not want the situation to become violent.
Keep you personal protection equipment readily available.
Once the situation has been contained, your safety has been secured there are other precautions that can be taken to remain safe.
Always identify yourself as a stalking victim to the authorities, and request complete confidentially for any information given, reports taken under oath, and all legal documentation filed. Remember that all information given to the authorities can be used against you in the court of law.
File a restraining order against the offender immediately.
· Get an unlisted telephone number. (If possible keep you old phone line active, this will help avoid an escalation to personal contact.)
Get a PO Box for legal purposes as any filings will be public record. (This prevents someone from getting any additional personal information.)
Notify all family members, close friends, and co-workers about your situation. Alert them to be suspicious of people inquiring about your whereabouts or schedule.
· Keep documentation of all occurrences such as police reports or personal log. Documentation can be photos, written entries, medical reports or answering machine messages among other things.
Be prepared, keep a small packed suitcase in your trunk, important telephone numbers on hand, and obtain a personal protection device.
· Consult a medical professional if you feel it is needed, being a victim of a stalker is an extremely stressful situation for anyone.
Advanced home security practices should be considered. Install a security system and security lighting where needed, along with deadbolts on entry doors and security locks on the windows.
Stalking victims may not show the physical bruises of someone that is violently attacked; they are however mentally assaulted day after day. No one should have to live life under these conditions, live their life in constant fear. Take the first steps on the road to regaining peace of mind and your personal freedom.
Fight Back – Don't Be A Victim!