Are You Living a Nightmare? Home Security and Safety Advice for Women Victimized by Stalking
Whether it's an ex-boyfriend, an ex-husband, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger, falling victim to the crime of stalking can turn your life into a living nightmare. The fear that women feel as a result of a stalker's actions often forces them to live a life of hyper-vigilance and isolation.
While vigilance is a critical part to ensuring one's security and safety, everyone needs a safe haven—and that safe haven should be your home. If you're one of the many women who's being victimized by stalking, this article offers important home security and safety advice that can help protect you.
The Prevalence and Nature of Stalking in the United States
Stalking, in general, involves a pattern of harassing or threatening behavior—such as lurking around a person's home or place of work and/or making harassing or threatening statements, sometimes referred to as terrorist threats. A threat can be as simple as a threatening note left on the windshield of your car and/or delivered by more sophisticated means such as by phone, email, or even social media.
Stalking is a serious problem across the United States, especially for women—serious enough to prompt the U.S. Department of Justice to declare January as National Stalking Awareness Month.
According to the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and the Stalking Resource Center:
- Over 6.5 million people are victimized by stalking each year
- Women are 3 times more likely to be stalked than men; young women under the age of 25 are at greatest risk.
- 1 out of 6 women are victimized by serious stalking crimes during their lifetime.
- Over 65% of the women victimized by stalking involve a previous or current intimate partner.
- Of the women who have been killed by their stalkers, 54% reported the stalking to the police prior to being murdered.
According to today's research statistics, the majority of stalking perpetrators in the U.S. are men. The women they victimize are often those with whom they had a previous relationship. In cases where women are stalked by other women, the perpetrator is commonly a jilted ex-wife or ex-girlfriend of the victim's current partner.
Regardless of gender, the stalker's motivation is the same—an attempt to exert control and instill fear in their victim.
Stalking Laws in the U.S.
Unfortunately, the laws in most states do not provide women with enough protection against stalkers—especially those who are determined to harm their victims. For a stalker to be arrested, a pattern of threatening or harassing behavior must be established and proven by the victim. Unfortunately, providing such proof is often easier said than done.
As reported by many of today's news agencies, it's often not until the perpetrator commits a more serious crime—such as invading or breaking into the victim's home, physical assault, rape, or murder—that the police are able to take legal action against a stalker.
In a news report posted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a young woman was terrorized for six months before the police were able to arrest her stalker. This woman's nightmare began after ending a relationship with a man she had dated for just three weeks. According to the report, the man attempted to break into the victim's apartment on four separate occasions and made numerous threats against her life. Despite several phone calls and complaints to the police, the perpetrator was never arrested. The victim, however, was eventually granted a restraining order—but this did not stop the man.
Just three days after being served the restraining order, the victim's stalker showed up at her apartment and began busting through the door. The moment she saw his face, she ran and retrieved her gun then fired upon him twice. The man was later found by the police hiding in the bushes, with a gunshot to the chest.
While it is fortunate the woman involved in this nightmare survived, this is the tragedy it took for police to finally arrest the man and charge him with a number of crimes, including that of stalking.
Home Security and Safety Measures for Women Victimized by Stalking
Like the woman in the above news story, if you've become someone's unhealthy obsession, it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself from the potential dangers.
The following are three important home security and safety measures that you should begin implementing immediately.
Step 1: Reinforce your home's doors and windows.
The first step in protecting yourself from your stalker and regaining your peace of mind is to ensure the security of your home. To do this, it is important to invest in home security devices specifically designed to prevent intruders from gaining entry into your residence.
The most vulnerable entry points to a home are its ground-level doors and windows. In high-risk situations such as stalking, home security devices such as the OnGARD security door brace and BurglarGARD glass protection film are not a luxury—they are a MUST. Locked doors and windows are simply not enough to keep a determined intruder out of your home!
With a quality security door brace such as OnGARD installed on your main entry doors, you can find comfort in knowing that your stalker will not come busting through your front door at a moment's notice. At the very least, the security door brace will provide the necessary time you need to call 911 and take the necessary steps to protect yourself until the police arrive.
The same is true of glass protection film. When installed on the interior side of glass window panes, glass protection film provides a powerful barrier that is proven to hold up against brute force. For a demonstration of just how effective this home security device can be, check out this video on BurglarGARD glass protection film.
Step 2: Obtain a restraining order.
Obtaining a restraining order is another important and necessary step in ensuring your safety. A restraining order is a protective order issued by a court of law that makes it illegal for the stalking offender to contact you or come within a certain distance of you and your home.
In most cases, a restraining order also gives the protected party permission to record phone calls and other forms of private communication with the restrained party. It also makes it illegal for the restrained party to possess a firearm.
Though highly necessary, it is important to understand that a restraining order does not prevent your stalker's actions. Whether or not the order is followed is entirely up to the perpetrator. A restraining order, however, puts the law on your side.
Violating a protective restraining order is a serious crime—especially in cases that involve domestic violence. If the restrained party violates any part of the order, he or she can be arrested and thrown in jail.
Step 3: Gather the evidence necessary to bring your stalker to justice.
In cases of stalking, the burden of proof is up to the victim. Before a restraining order can be issued or your stalker arrested, you must first provide evidence of your stalker's harassing and threatening behavior.
Evidence can come in various forms, such as text messages, voice mails, emails, social media posts, phone bills, written logs, recorded video, and witnesses.
To prove your case, it is important to document each and every incident as thoroughly as possible. Print and save a copy of each and every threatening or harassing message you receive, along with any messages you send in which you instruct the perpetrator to STOP contacting you. It is also important to report each incident to the police. Be sure to request a copy of the police report once it has been filed. Police reports are important when it comes to proving your case and obtaining a restraining order.
While recording private conversations without the other party's knowledge or consent is illegal in some states, most states do allow video recording in public settings. This is where home security cameras such as the OnGARD Walk-About Wireless Surveillance Systemcan be a lifesaver.
In addition to serving as an early warning device, a wireless surveillance system with a portable LCD monitor and built-in DVR can provide the evidence you need to prove your case against your stalker and ensure justice is served.
Stalking is a Serious Crime Against Women—Protect Yourself!As a home security expert with nearly two decades of experience in the security industry, I know all too well how the crime of stalking can escalate from verbal threats to physical violence. If you are a woman who is being victimized by stalking, take the necessary steps to protect yourself from this serious crime before your living nightmare turns deadly.
Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.
Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:
The American Society for Industrial Security.
The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.
The Society of Professional Locksmiths.