Question: What do Tila Tequila, Jamie Foxx, Tyra Banks, Michael Douglas, Tom Cruise, Alyssa Milano, David Letterman, Halle Berry, and Jodie Foster all have in common?
Answer: They are all celebrities who have been stalked.
What is Stalking? Stalking is the willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person.
However most stalking victims are NOT Celebrities, they happen to be people just like you who have been targeted by someone who finds something about you the makes them want to be near you. Sometimes this attraction is innocent, but many times it is not. It does not depend on your age, gender, race, socio-economic status or geographic location Stalking is a dangerous crime that affected 6.6 million adults in the United States in one year. The better we understand the facts about stalking, the more we can do to stop it.
Some Stalking Facts
- Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed
- 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week
- 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
- 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.
- 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop.
- Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases.
- Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
- 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more.
- 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization.
- 76% of intimate partner femicide (women killed) victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
- 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
- 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
- 79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.
- 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Know that every stalking situation is different, but there are a few guidelines to follow if you feel you are a victim of a stalker.
- Clearly communicate in the presence of protective witnesses to your stalker that you wish to have no contact with him/her. You may want to also put this in writing. Have no further contact with the stalker.
- Inform close friends, trusted family members and your employer or school of the situation, so that others are aware of the situation.
- Inform your local police department that you are a victim of a stalker. This is important to do even if you don’t intend to file charges. A record will be created which will serve as a paper trail should you need one. Nearly less that 40% of stalking victims will report incidents to the police.
- It is important to keep a detailed record of stalking incidents, that include date, time, place, and actions or contacts with the stalker. This can be done in a personal diary or journal. You many also want to include any other pertinent information such as car type, license plate number, physical description, etc. These steps can help you if the situation escalates into something more dangerous. Save all letters, emails, cloud document, voice mails or text messages for record keeping.
- It may be necessary to change most of your contact information such as your phone number, cell phone number, email addresses, social media pages or blog, if necessary.
- If you really feel uncomfortable with the person you can file for a restraining or protective order. Information on filing can be obtained from your local police department.
- Consider enrolling in self-defense class or carrying pepper spray
- Create a contingency plan. You may not think that you are in imminent danger, but the possibility still exists. Your local police or domestic violence center may be able to assist you with a more specific plan.
- Always make sure you’re never low on gas in your car.
- If possible, do not travel alone.
- Have an alarm system installed in your car and your home. Also consider setting up video surveillance system at home. Many alarm companies offer this and can make the installation affordable
Resources for Information and Assistance
National Center for Victims of Crime
1-800-FYI-CALL or 1-800-394-2255
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-799-7233
National Organization for Victim Assistance
1-800-TRY-NOVA or 1-800-879-6682
Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center
Violence Against Women Office
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