Monday, May 30, 2011

Advice for Stalking Victims does not mention arming oneself

While I appreciate everything The National Center for Victims of Crime does to help victims who's lives have been unalterably changed by the evil that walks amongst us everyday. This great Organization fails to give the advice that a stalking victim could consider arming oneself. Most states allow some form of carry for self defense. While Law Enforcement plays a substantial role in fighting crime, they cannot be anywhere & everywhere at anytime. The best way to protect yourself is to carry the best defensive tool possible....a gun. The advice that is given basically tells the victim that they need to completely restructure their life & give up their freedoms. The advice given could certainly help but none of that advice will help you if your stalker is violent and bent on finding you. Evil comes unexpectedly and there is no guarantee that even carrying a gun for self defense will keep you from being harmed but it will give you a fighting chance. While a legally carried gun does not make you invincible, it does increase the odds that you will be able to defend yourself especially against a predator who is stronger than yourself. It is important to be trained on justifiable use of force and defense shooting skills for those that choose to carry. I would like to see this given as an option on their website as I believe it is important. Here is their advice below.

Stalking Safety Tips

Safety Anytime:
If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one to which the stalker has never had access. Memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and helpful family or friends are on speed dial.
Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately.
Vary routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places regularly frequented. Limit time spent alone and try to shop at different stores and visit different bank branches.
When out of the house or work environment, try not to travel alone and try to stay in public areas.
Get a new, unlisted phone number. Leave the old number active and connected to an answering machine or voicemail. Have a friend, advocate, or law enforcement screen the calls, and save any messages from the stalker. These messages, particularly those that are explicitly abusive or threatening, can be critical evidence for law enforcement to build a stalking case against the offender.
Do not interact with the person stalking or harassing you. Responding to stalker's actions may reinforce their behavior.[1]
Consider obtaining a protective order against the stalker. Some states offer stalking protective orders and other victims may be eligible for protective orders under their state's domestic violence statutes.
Trust your instincts. If you're somewhere that doesn't feel safe, either find ways to make it safer, or leave.
If in imminent danger, locate a safe place. Consider going to:
Police Station
Residences of family or friends (locations unknown to the perpetrators)
Domestic violence shelters
Place of worship
Public areas (some stalkers may be less inclined toward violence or creating a disturbance in public places).

Safety at home:
Identify escape routes out of your house. Teach them to your children.
Install solid core doors with dead bolts. If all keys cannot be accounted for, change the locks and secure the spare keys. Fix any broken windows or doors.
Have a code word you use with your children that tells them when they need to leave.
Inform neighbors and, if residing in an apartment, any on-site managers about the situation, providing them with a photo or description of the stalker and any vehicles they may drive if known. Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the stalker at your house. Agree on a signal you will use when you need them to call the police.
Pack a bag with important items you'd need if you had to leave quickly. Put the bag in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust.
Consider putting together a "stalking sack" that includes the stalking log, a camera, information about the offender, etc. More information on Stalking Sacks.

Safety at work and school:
Give a picture of the stalker to security and friends at work and school.
Tell your supervisors. They have a responsibility to keep you safe at work.
Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus.
If the stalker contacts you, save any voicemails, text messages, and e-mails.
Give the school or daycare center a copy of your protective order. Tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first.
Make sure your children know to tell a teacher or administrator at school if they see the stalker.
Make sure that the school and work know not to give your address or phone number to anyone.
Keep a copy of your protective order at work.