You can’t prevent it, and you can’t stop it. Stalkers stalk and hunt their prey relentlessly. Their actions will cause unimaginable trauma to their victims. Think of bullying effects on a victim, and you will begin to understand the trauma a stalking victim faces. When a stranger began stalking my family and me, we had no idea we were being stalked or the danger we faced. When the stalker made himself visible to us, he let us see him trespassing on our property, peeping through our windows, going in our backyard, monitoring my husband’s schedule to harass us, standing in the middle of the road staring at us, following us, etc. The stalker eventually tried to kill my son, husband, and me while our other children watched. Even after being granted a Stalking Injunction, the stalker continually violated it.
Due to years of unpredictable and constant trauma, our children and I developed PTSD. Our trauma was compounded by the lack of law enforcement understanding/training of the crime of stalking and some of the officers’ inability to understand my Stalking Injunction, thereby not enforcing it most of the time, which encouraged the stalker even more. One officer would send charges to the State Attorney’s Office. In contrast, another officer on a later violation would say I was not being stalked while holding my Stalking Injunction. Our children were devastated each time law enforcement dismissed us. Law enforcement did not arrest the stalker even when he admitted the Injunction Violations we had accused him of. This stalking trauma, in combination with lack of law enforcement protection, caused us to develop a fear of going out in public, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, trouble focusing, hypervigilance, tics, etc. The trauma impacted every aspect of our lives.
Overcoming stalking trauma is a slow and difficult path, but one filled with hope and healing. Healing first started with getting a Service Dog. The next step was finding trauma-informed resources like Heather Forbes’ Beyond Consequences books to help heal the trauma in children. I started a Doctorate in Traumatology to gain as much information as possible to help my family and others heal. Putting together my research and experience to help other stalking victims overcome the fear, fight for stalking training for law enforcement, and write children’s books regarding trauma symptoms to help other child victims of violent crimes and their families.
Remember, it’s not your fault. You are not to blame. Learn the Stalking Laws in your state. Document everything, no matter how insignificant it may appear. If possible, hire an attorney. Apply for an Injunction.
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Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center, SPARC, https://www.stalkingawareness.org/stalking-awareness-month-2022/