Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Talk About It Tuesday ~ January Is Stalking Awareness Month

Welcome to our first post of 2019! After referring to my list of blogging subjects I've been approached to discuss each month, my immediate attention was drawn to this issue.

Stalking.

Like a few of the subjects we discuss here on the blog, this is something that can affect anyone. Men or women. Children or adults. Rich or poor. It doesn't matter what race you are, which religion you practice or culture you're a part of. It knows no boundaries. Because there are none.

Stalking is one person impeding on the individual rights, privacy and personal safety of another. Similar to bullying, it can start off so subtlely that it may seem unnoticed and the person being stalked may be written off as paranoid or reading too much into things. What it boils down to is that if there is even an inkling that this is going on, it needs to be taken care of and immediately.

The legal definition of stalking is: "...the act or crime of willfully and repeatedly following or harassing another person in circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear injury or death especially because of express or implied threats." Basically, this could be an ex who can't let go, a person who becomes obsessively focused on someone else or simply a person that the stalker has convinced themselves 'belongs' to them. In any case, we're dealing with an individual who isn't seeing the situation or the person in a realistic way and has no recognition of the actual harm their actions cause.

These days, stalking goes way beyond what is portrayed in movies with a stalker following someone else around, lurking in the shadows. People have access to social media and, if saavy enough, a stalker can use this as an even deeper form of what they're already doing. What's on the Internet is forever and for those who are actively on their social media are inadvertently putting themselves out there for the world to find. That doesn't make what these stalkers are doing right or justified, though.

Stalking for the victims elicits fear, mistrust, and a paralyzing inability to enjoy their lives the way they should be allowed to. No one...no one...should be allowed to feel that they have that power over another individual. This sort of behavior can cause fear for loved ones of the victim as well because they are closer to the person the stalker erroneously believes they alone should have. And oftentimes, even a restraining order isn't enough to deter their actions.

It's time that we take back that power and give it back to the victims. Let's do all we can as writers, bloggers, friends and/or family of those who are dealing with this and raise awareness. Understand what to look for, how to protect yourself and get others talking about it. 

Remember that violence against violence doesn't teach anything. Awareness, knowledge and prevention does. 

Stalking is wrong and the damage done as a result of it, even after action against these individuals has been taken, is irreversible and forever felt by the victim.

January is Stalking Awareness Month. Do what you can to raise awareness. Be a voice for those whose own voice isn't strong enough. In doing so, you can help even just one person enjoy their life the way they deserve to live it.

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