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Guardian Self Defense and Security Blog

Stalking A Very Serious Personal Security Threat

If you don't think "stalking" is a serious problem in our country think again. The Department of Justice released the findings of a 12 month study on nonfatal stalking victimization in the U.S. This was the largest and most comprehensive study of it's kind. The overall study was supplemented by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and sponsored by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). Key findings included almost half of stalking victims reported at least one unwanted contact per week. 11% reported having been stalked for over five years. 25% of were victims of cyberstalking by way of email (83%) and instant messaging (35%). Fact: Nearly 3.5 million people over the age of 17 were victims of stalking during a 12 month study period. What is stalking: It's defined as contact directed toward an individual that causes the person to be scared or feel fear. What are some examples of stalking: Here is a list of stalking behaviors. For the purposes of the this 12 month survey a behavior had to take place on at least two separate occasions and the victim must have feared for her personal safety or the safety of family
  • making unwanted phone calls
  • sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails
  • following or spying on the victim
  • showing up at places without a legitimate reason
  • waiting at places for the victim
  • leaving unwanted items, presents, or flowers
  • posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
It stands to reason that stalking victimization is highest for those who had been divorced or separated, nearly 35%! Almost half of all victims reported feeling fear of the unknown. Not knowing what would happen next was their most intense fear. Most victims report knowing their attacker in some form or fashion. Over half of stalking victims missed work 5 or more days as a direct result. The feelings of emotional, physical and mental distress can be overwhelming to say the least. Nearly 1 in 5 victims of stalking feared for their physical safety. Almost all considered purchasing some type of weapon for self defense. Even worse, many victims feared for the well being of a child, family or friends. About ten percent feared being killed by the person stalking them. Stalkers rely on intimidation and fear in attempt to control their victims. It's no surprise that victims reported about 40% of stalkers threatened them, their family, co-workers or a pet. Often victims are not taken seriously when they confide in friends or even professionals. In reality, stalkers have the potential to be extremely dangerous. Stalking is a crime of power and control. So what should you do if you are the victim of a stalker? Communicate with your stalker in a very direct manner. Let them know that their advances are unwelcome and should stop immediately. The best way to do this is to have a friend or family member communicate with the stalker on your behalf. Whether you do it yourself or have some help, the message should be delivered once. After that, stop all future communication. Remember, you cannot reason with a stalker, don't even attempt it. No contact is best way to proceed. Your personal safety should be priority number one.
  • Change your everyday pattern. Mix up your routine, stay as unpredictable as possible.
  • Let friends, family and co-workers know that you are being stalked and show them a good picture of him.
  • Evaluate your residential security. Make sure you have strong entry locks and dead bolts installed. Consider arming all entry ways with door and window alarms.
  • Protect your personal information, be very as to who you give your address, phone number, and email address to. It is wise to set up a PO box and route all mail to that address. Phone numbers and email addresses should be unpublished and confidential. Only release to individuals you trust.
  • Arm yourself with a self defense weapon that gives you the ability to stop an attacker if necessary. Whatever self defense weapon you choose, take the necessary time to become comfortable with the product. You should know how it works and how to operate it. Practice using the device until you feel comfortable.
  • Should you need it help is just a phone call away. The National Center For Victim Assistance, has a toll free number that you can call for professional help and support. You may also email them at gethelp@ncvc.org In an emergency situation you should always contact 911. Personal defense products.
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