BY THE LOS ALAMOS VICTIM ASSISTANT
Every year, millions of Americans are victims of stalking; usually occurring by someone the victim knows such as an ex-spouse, ex-lover, or former boss. Like domestic violence, stalking is a crime of power and control that include persistent patterns of behavior, resulting in victims to live in fear, unable to live a productive lifestyle due to daily safety concerns. Stalking is also defined as someone engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others.
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), about 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking in their lifetime.
Common Tactics of stalking include:
- Unwanted phone calls
- Unwanted emails, instant messages, text messages, voice messages, or social media messages
- Approaching a victim or showing up unwanted, such as at the victim’s home, workplace, or school
- Leaving strange or potentially threatening items for the victim to find
- Watching, following, or tracking a victim
- Sneaking into the victim’s home or car and doing things to scare the victim or let them know the perpetrator had been there
If you’re a victim of stalking here are some recommendations to follow:
- Be alert and proactive to protect yourself from the possible threat: Carry your cell phone with you at all times, buy mace, travel with someone.
- Enhanced security measures in your life such as changing your locks or putting up security cameras.
- Save all voicemails, text, letters, and cards, etc. Take pictures of items/gifts left for you or any property damage.
- Contact the police and file a report
- File an order protection
- Tell trusted family and friends of the stalking
- Block the perpetrator on your phone and social media
- Call 911
- ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!
If you are a victim of stalking you can reach out to the Los Alamos Victim Assistant for services including:
- Safety planning
- Order of protection
- Referrals and Resources
The National Violence hotline: 1-800-799-7233
The Los Alamos Victim Assistant: 1-505-663-3511