Letter, Jan. 15, 2014

What is stalking?

Re: Challenges for the victims

 

Stalking is a pervasive, dangerous crime. It is underreported and often difficult to identify.

Stalking often exists in domestic violence relationships and sexual assaults. It can happen with a neighbor, acquaintance or total strangers.

According to Wyoming law, stalking is a repeated behavior that seriously alarms a reasonable person. This may seem vague, and often victims do not report stalking because they are unclear that a crime has occurred. The victim might feel “silly” being frightened or angry and try to reason with or ignore the stalker. They may feel sorry for the person stalking them.

When you are ending a relationship and continue to receive letters, sometimes angry, sometimes pleading, always unwanted, is that stalking? Yes.

When the person your ex-partner is dating starts posting malicious comments, spreads ugly rumors and sometimes parks where you can see them, is that stalking? Yes.

If the neighbor leaves an ugly note on your car window complaining about your dog barking once, is that stalking? No.

If the person down the street makes a suggestive comment once and you’ve seen him following you a few times, is that stalking? Yes.

If someone has committed a crime against you and does things to scare you into being quiet, is that stalking? Yes.

Law enforcement is not always able to take action on certain behaviors, but telling them and keeping a log helps build a pattern of behavior that defines stalking.

The Advocacy & Resource Center staff is available to help victims look at possible solutions. Options may include a protection order, a safety plan or certain actions that make you feel more prepared. The center is here to listen, support and inform victims.

Office hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. The office phone is 672-7471.

An advocate can be reached on the 24-hour crisis line at 672-3222.

 

 

 

Bonnie Young

Advocacy and Resource Center director

Sheridan

 


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