I have a friend who lives in another state, who has been struggling with a stalker.
She hasn’t spoken about it much since last year when she asked her Facebook friends to make sure to change their passwords, so her stalker couldn’t hack into and use one of our accounts to get to her. Yesterday she posted an update that her stalker had been incarcerated on another charge.
Today, she posted that even though her stalker had been put away for the time being, she felt like she was experiencing some PTSD. She didn’t say as much, but I took away from the post that she had expected to feel some measure of relief at her stalker having been apprehended, but then didn’t.
Her mental and emotional exhaustion was evident. She has been dealing with this stalker for a very long time, and I’m sure she is convinced that he will be released at some point to go back to his stalking habits.
This is not acceptable.
A person should never have to go buy a gun and get a concealed carry permit because at any time their stalker could pop out and follow them home. They absolutely should have the freedom to do so, if they wish, but shouldn’t have to be driven to it because restraining orders are ineffective.
All people should be afforded life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as a matter of course and the Constitution, but some don’t have that very basic right because stalking isn’t taken seriously. The burden of extraordinary proof is put on the victim, while their stalker remains unencumbered. Laws from state to state vary, and this inconsistency doesn’t help.
A person, of any gender, should never have live in fear from another person who just won’t take no for an answer.
In reading my friend’s post, I was made keenly aware that there isn’t anything really much I can do to help. The only thing I can do is listen, and give support as I can.
Or, maybe there is some small thing I can do after all.
I can boost the signal.
I certainly can get the word out to as many people as I can about this very awful human affliction, which largely goes uncorrected. Here are a few ideas, some are my thoughts and some paraphrased from others.
1. As a mother, I can tell you one of the most important things I taught my boys is that no means no. Teach your children, other children in your family, neighbor kids, or any other kids you come in contact with that no means no, and that’s a boundary that doesn’t get pushed.
2. You may have noticed that in the last paragraph I spoke about teaching children in general about boundaries. That’s right, people of all genders get stalked. If you hear talk or notice stalking behaviors coming from anyone you know, let them know that’s wrong and to stop it. If we suspect it’s happening and do nothing, that’s wrong. You can read in more detail about national statistics on stalking in the United States here. It’s an eye opening read.
3. If someone discloses to you that they feel they are being stalked, never downplay their feelings. This may be especially tempting if you know the stalker as well. If someone feels they are being stalked, they are being stalked. End of story.
4. Some stalkers may be mentally ill. That isn’t an excuse, and they shouldn’t be allowed to continue with that behavior. If you know someone who is stalking due to mental illness, help them stop, whether it is getting the medical help they need, or letting authorities know that this person has become a danger to another person. If you know it’s a problem and you don’t make an effort to make it stop, that’s wrong.
I’m sure there are more things that can be done by people who know someone who is being stalked, but those are the ones that come off the top of my mind.
I was stalked once but it was resolved, and I haven’t been bothered by that guy in 30 years. Lots of folks who get stalked can’t shake their pursuers, and it’s frightening. Some people keep getting stalked until they are murdered or their stalker dies. Can you imagine living in fear like that all the time, never feeling safe?
If you are being stalked, get help. Don’t stop asking for help, whether it is from the law, or from family and friends.
If, God forbid, you are stalking someone, knock that shit off right freaking now. RIGHT NOW. No means no.
Faithful Readers, I don’t ask for much, for anything really. However, today am going to ask that you take this very earnestly written post to heart, and share it. Add to it if you are so inclined, but share it please.
Help me boost the signal and shine a light on this very dark corner in our society. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Blessings all. ❤️