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Nothing funny or romantic about stalking

January 30, 2014
The Leader Herald

"I'm stalking you" has become a joke line. "Real" stalking is not cute or funny or romantic. It can be deadly. At best, it leaves behind a tornado's path of emotional ruin - extreme distress, sleep and eating disturbance, lost time from work, depression and more.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month.

Stalking is about instilling psychological terror, and unless you've been stalked, you don't get it. Many victims don't report stalking to police because they think police won't be effective or will see the incidents as minor. An article in The Police Chief magazine that stresses the need for law-enforcement training on stalking reports "nearly 20 percent of stalking victims stated police took no action when contacted." Police are trained in responding to a single incident, and with stalking, "many of the behaviors, in and of themselves, are not criminal acts," the article said. Stalking, though, is a "course of conduct" crime. It's important for victims to log every incident and collect evidence.

The article states that reporting stalking to police most often does not stop the behavior: "Stalkers do not recognize or respect boundaries set by the victim, law enforcement or the courts," and recidivism rates are estimated to be 60 percent.

If you're stalked by an intimate partner, for help with coping and a safety plan, call the Family Counseling Center of Fulton County's 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (518) 725-5300.

For more information on stalking, visit StalkingAwarenessMonth.org.

SUSAN ASHLINE

Gloversville High School class of 1984

Ontario, Wayne County

 
 

 

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