The term stalking refers to unwanted, obsessive attention paid to someone, that may or may not know the perpetrator. Harassment is another term used by law enforcement to describe this behavior. No place is immune to having this kind of illegal activity and that includes schools, workplace, or even the local grocers. Negative consequences can be associated with having someone watch everything you do, and that includes losing a job.
Some Quick Facts
Every year, 3.5 million people report that they have been the victim of stalking and that makes it a serious crime. Nevertheless, numerous incidents are never even reported. Following are some facts about this crime.
• Three or every four cases involves someone the victim knew
• A third of victims were once intimate with the perpetrator
• Just 10% of cases involved strangers
• People between 18 and 24 are the most frequent victims
• 46% of victims say that they receive a minimum of one undesired contact attempt per week
• Instant messaging, email and other technology related forms of contact occur in one of every four cases
• Of every one hundred victims that report this abuse, ten of them say that they have been illegally monitored via video cameras, GPS or listening devices
The most frequent victims of this unwanted behavior are women, but men are not excluded from this abuse. Victims, no matter their gender, should understand that they are not at fault. They bear no responsibility for what someone else does. Even so, it still leaves the victim feeling out of control of what is happening to them.
Victims often feel isolated and confused and their lives become taken over by the assault. They are unable to enjoy everyday life because they become fearful that something bad might happen. The best thing they can do is tell someone what is happening to them and bring the identity of the perpetrator out in the open. Even causal acquaintances outside intimate circles of friends and family can become allies when they know what to look for to help. Taking back control is the one thing you can do to combat this offense.
Although laws are on the books that address stalking, police officers can only do so much. It is often thought that one can protect themselves against the perpetrator by obtaining a restraining order, but the majority of these are violated anyway. There is just so much that law enforcement can do, and most people cannot afford a bodyguard. Learning as much as you can about protecting yourself is always your best defense against becoming a victim.
You must begin by understanding that when you are the target of such behavior there is the potential that it could become violent. You must take steps to educate yourself on what you can do to defend yourself. Your best defense is always listening to your intuition and immediately doing something to get away from danger and protect yourself. You could be saving your life when you do.
By Richard Mongiovi