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Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it.

“She saw him jogging on the spot outside her house on Christmas Day, he hung around her workplace, he broke into her car, he posed as a parent to gain entrance to her child’s nursery, he paid for background searches to be made into her husband and her father, he phoned her late at night, sent her letters and Valentine cards and flowers, he managed to get hold of photographs of her wedding (which he used as a screen saver), he had a Google Earth aerial map of her home, he Googled her over 40,000 times in one year (this is an average of more than 100 times a day).”

–The Telegraph


Sounds utterly insane, morally and ethically wrong and intrusive, right?

Sounds like a story? Is it made up or not?

It is true; and all too inappropriate and disturbing.

When I think of stalking, I think of the “Peeping Tom” staring in your window. I was surprised to learn the detrimental effects that a stalker has on its victim, long after the stalking has stopped. I was reading an article on a young married mother of two, Claire Waxman. In college she met Elliot Fogel, and rejected his advances. Ten years later, he found her again, and embarked on seven years of stalking, leaving the scars of mental and physical exhaustion and abuse on Waxman and her family’s lives forever.

The initial quote shows the depth that a stalker will take in order to achieve what he or she has set out to accomplish. The goal:  power and control. What does an abuser seek to accomplish? Power and control.

She forgot about him after college. She intended to forget about him forever, but he maneuvered his way back into her life. Now she will never forget him. He is engrained in her memory. What did he accomplish? Power and control.

Stalkers are sly. They have strategies in mind that allow them to avoid the law and the consequences of their actions. They walk a fine line and walk it very well. They understand what is and is not appropriate according to law.  They do not take into account what is appropriate in the everyday life of a happily married woman with two children.

In this case, Elliot Fogel received 16 months in prison for the seven years of torment to which he subjected to Claire Waxman and her family.  Sixteen months just does not seem enough.

The vast majority of women killed by their partners were stalked before their death (The Telegraph). Stalking is harassment and intimidation. Abuse is the same. It is important we recognize the steps or stages of abuse and realize that stalking and intimidation springboards into an unhealthy and potentially deadly relationship.

Stalkers have power and control at the top of their list for each person they victimize. Stalkers walk that fine line because they think they can get away with the harm they are causing. We need to realize that stalking is not okay. No one should feel they cannot seek help because they are not being physically harmed.  Stalking is mental and emotional abuse. Physical abuse scars may have the potential to heal. Emotional abuse scars can fade from memory, but they are always present in the back of the mind of every victim.

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