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g Missing and Exploited Children Site

BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Stalking


Stalking is a crime that affects over one million people each year. Every year approximately one million women and 400,000 men are victims of stalking. Most of the time men stalk women, although there are women who stalk men.

Stalking affects all aspects of a personís lifestyle. It impacts your home, your work, and especially the personal areas of your life. Many victims deal with financial hardship of lost wages or jobs, due to the time taken away from a job required for filing restraining orders, moving, and testifying in court proceedings.

Once the stalking cycle begins, on average one will spend two years or longer trying to end the vicious cycle involved in stalking. Imagine two years of your life lived in fear, spent looking over your shoulder always being on alert. Unfortunately many women and men die or are permanently maimed by the hands of his or her stalker. Stalking is a crime that can change the victimís life forever.

Stalking defined is a repeat pattern of unwanted attention. This includes but is not limited to various kinds of harassment or contact, such as unwanted gifts, phone calls, letters, or e-mails. The stalker may repeatedly and often follow his victim. Stalkers often show up where a person works, at his or her home, and even in public places such as a library, movie theater or store. There may be indirect threats made towards a victimís family, spouse, or children. A stalker often will damage a victimís property, and dig through the personís garbage to learn intimate details of the victimís life.

A stalker is usually someone the victim knows. Yet, there are cases where the victim has never met the stalker in person, making the stalker a stranger. Stranger stalking is not as common. Cyber stalking is harassing and repeated contact online or through e-mail. Although it seems as if it is less threatening than in real life cyber stalking is just as serious and can quickly cross the line into physical stalking.

A stalker often acts childish or immature, as he or she is emotionally unstable, with few social skills. Throughout the relationship, the stalker often showed signs and symptoms of jealousy. Most stalkers although highly unpredictable are rarely mentally ill.

Stalking laws vary in great depth from state to state. However, most states define stalking as the repeated, willful, and malicious acts of following or harassing an individual. Stalking is not about sex, but about showing power and controlling a victim.

The best practice anyone can implement into his or her life is to vary the daily routine so no one knows what you or when you do it. There is safety in numbers so go out with friends, rather than by yourself, and carry a cell phone.

Consider in depth what information and to whom you will give out any personal information. Be sure to use a mechanical shredder to destroy anything with a name, address, credit and banking account information, even family information, before tossing it out. An equally important step is to get a locking mailbox, to prevent information from being taken right out of the mailbox.

Trust the your instinct that little voice that screams danger. Our instinct is usually correct, but useless unless one learns to listen and respond to the danger signal every time.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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