Stalking is a frightening crime that affects 3.4 million people each year in the United States. Unfortunately, it is very misunderstood, and many times is not taken seriously. Stalking can consist of activities that, independently, are often not crime yet, combined make their victims isolate themselves and change their entire lives. Some stalking activities might include inappropriate/threatening phone calls, emails, text messages; being physically followed and having personal property violated. Stalkers can easily use the Internet to find additional information about anyone, especially on sites like Facebook and MySpace. They leave their victims feeling afraid, threatened and often depressed. Anyone can become a stalking victim at any time without provocation.
Some stalking behavior may not seem threatening when taken out of context. Therefore, it is crucial that law enforcement and friends/family understand the entire situation to fully assist a victim. A police officer responding to a call of a flower placed on a car may not understand any significance behind the act; however, upon further discussion with the victim the officer may discover that the victim knows the flower means he is always there. Add the flower to a few dozen phone calls or emails with threats and the victim feels fear when she sees the flower on her car.
Many tragic stalking incidents could have been avoided with knowledge, awareness and support, to which I have committed my life to providing, so that our world can be safer. The good news is that there are simple, preventative measures that can be taken to greatly increase your personal safety. By taking these steps now, you can help protect yourself or someone you love. Remember: knowledge is power, and you do not have to be a victim – of anything!