Practical Advice for Victims of Stalking
I am very sorry to have to miss the AALS panel on Saturday, “The First Amendment Meets Cyber-Stalking Meets Character and Fitness,” as it looks to be a fascinating discussion. (Like many readers, I have enjoyed Danielle, Kaimipono, and Dave’s past posts on the topic).
In this post, however, I’d like to broaden the focus to include classic, old, “real-life” stalking and ask a rather simple question: What is the best practical advice to give someone who is being stalked?
It’s National Stalking Awareness Month and I’d love to hear from commenters about what they tell people who come to them seeking advice for dealing with incidents of stalking. In the past, I’ve had multiple friends who have suffered harassing phone calls, threatening emails, and physical surveillance from obsessed exes and over-zealous suitors and I’ve struggled to give advice that I thought would actually be effective in bringing a swift and final end to the abuse (without exacerbating the problem).
There is some good data on the internet but it is often difficult to wade through or outdated. Stalking: A Handbook for Victims by Emily Spence-Diehl, for example, is a useful resource and offers a step-by-step guide to addressing abuse, but it is over ten years old.
Given data on the prevalence of victimization (according to a national study released last year by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), during a 12-month period 3.4 million people reported being the victims of stalking), I’m guessing that there are many Co-Op denizens that might benefit from learning about the latest proven approaches.
I’ll get the ball rolling by suggesting that one of the easiest ways to take action is to talk directly to a trained professional who can help design a stalking safety plan. The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) can be reached at 1-800-FYI-CALL, M-F 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM EST. The NCVC can also be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.