January is Stalking Awareness Month, and a great website with tools, quizzes and resources is now available if this is something you are dealing with. I especially love their guidelines on how to create a Safety Plan. Visit the website by clicking here – and help spread the word too! http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org
Stalking is downright scary, and I know this on a very personal level. It can make a person feel powerless, cause acute anxiety and feel totally out of control. Please understand that each situation is different, and you need specific management of your individual case before deciding on any one course of action. Reach out for help, and don’t deal with this on your own. Here are 5 ideas to get you started…
#1: Acknowledge the situation for what it is. Might sound easy, but many people who are being stalked refuse to accept that the word STALK is appropriate. According to Safe Horizon, New York law defines stalking as a pattern of intentional, repeated, and unwanted behavior causing a person to fear for his/her own safety. A stalker can be anyone – a stranger, a relative or anywhere in between.
#2: Know the law. To find out the exact definition of stalking and possible ways to respond, know the laws in your state. Visit the Stalking Resource Center at The National Center for Victims of Crime website by clicking here.
#3: Read a book called “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. By far, this is the best book I’ve read about intuition, de-escalating potentially violent scenarios and understanding the motives of people who pursue others inappropriately. Click here to buy it.
#4: Call the Stalking Hotline. Someone from Safe Horizon is available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call toll free: 866.689.HELP (4357). Check out their website by clicking here.
#5: Take a self-defense class. Hopefully the steps above prevent you from having to physically save yourself. However, the skills you learn in a good self-defense class are much bigger than learning to do an eye jab. Great classes will also teach you to recognize the signs of a violent person, how to use your intuition, ways to de-escalate bad situations and how to fight back if necessary. I especially recommend classes by IMPACT and FAST Defense.
I hope this helps…stay safe!