Welcome back to That’s What Pea Said…
Next week (April 8th/12th) is National Stalking Awareness Week. This years theme is focusing on Stalking as a public-health issue, addressing the detrimental affect that this heinous crime has upon it’s victims. The aim of this week is to raise awareness focusing on the impact stalking has on victims’ mental and emotional health as well as their physical safety, ultimately raising awareness amongst health professionals of the seriousness of stalking and that #StalkingStealsLives
Over the course of this week, I’m going to be sharing general info about Stalking and next week, to coincide with National Stalking Awareness Week, I shall be focusing upon the impact it has on stalking victims.
What is Stalking? The Suzy Lamplugh Trust defines stalking as ‘A pattern of fixated and obsessive behaviour which is repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim.’
Stalking behaviours include:
• Seeking personal information
• Loitering around your home/school/work
• Befriending friends/family to get closer
• Spreading rumours to discredit
• Cyberstalking & bullying
• Seeking physical proximity
• Threatening your freedom
• Verbal abuse
This list it non-exhaustive & behaviours vary depending on intent & motive… Behaviours can be endearing, loving, nasty, threatening or violent. I’m sure any reasonable person can appreciate the affect these behaviours have on an individuals wellbeing.. If the behaviour is persistent and clearly unwanted, causing you fear, distress or anxiety then it is stalking and you should not have to live with it. Stalking is a crime.
Due to the nature of stalking, perpetrators have the ability to project their behaviours onto their victim, aiding others to believe that they are not guilty of the offences which they are carrying out.. This makes prosecution difficult & adds further to the harassment.. Online stalking behaviours, including digitally enabled stalking are just as traumatic & psychologically damaging for victims – if an individual is monitoring another 24/7 its equally as disturbing as the perpetrator standing outside their victims house, both methods are criminal. However, there is often a correlation between stalking and harassment offences, however they are not the same crime & should not be treated as such.
Unfortunately, anybody can become a victim of stalking… There is no definitive description despite extensive research. It was said that the only way to truly not be at risk, would be to avoid all social interaction with the outside world and that’s neither reasonable or possible. Furthermore, not all victims know their stalker, although certain personality traits are common within Stalkers characteristics, it’s impossible to exclude anybody from being capable of carrying out stalking behaviours. About 45% of people who contact the Stalking Helpline are being stalked by ex-intimates and a further third have had some sort of prior acquaintance with their stalker; they may have dated, married or been a friend with their stalker.
There is no definite answer to how long stalking can and will last. Research carried out concluded that stalking could last up to 43 years. The average duration was found to be between 6 months and 2 years. The report also concluded that the duration of stalking tends to increase as the stalker’s emotional investment in the relationship increases. This is one of the reasons ex-intimate stalking is often considered to be the most dangerous. Unfortunately, many of these cases result in death or serious injury to the victim.
Tomorrow, I will be discussing stalking behaviours in more depth.
If you think you are being stalked, please contact The National Stalking Helpline for advice: 0808 802 0300
Thanks for reading,