Stalking victims suffer trauma

Imagine living under a constant state of siege, never sure when your enemy is going to attack next, or where. Stalking is terrorism, pure and simple. As one expert in the field describes it: “To feel that you can’t get away from that person and that you’re at risk no matter where you go is tantamount to living under attack in a state of war.”
In a recent study of long-term stalking, a number of victims commented they could have dealt better with being raped. Although it might sound like an outrageous remark, those who counsel victims understand where it’s coming from. It’s because stalking is a crime that seems like it will never be over. It goes on day after day, and year after year, for as long as the stalker stays fixated on his victim. Victims develop symptoms of complex PTSD.
An obsessed stalker is like a rapist who doesn’t his victim rape once but keeps showing up in her bedroom. A victim of stalking can never be sure when her stalker will make his next move. This unpredictability means she cannot freely go on with her life. Being stalked results in enormous stress. Unlike in other crimes, the victim’s trauma increases over time, rather than diminishes. That’s because the victim can’t know if her attacker has withdrawn, or if he will be back.
Jenny, who had been stalked for two years recalls that a detective investigating her case told her that when an obsessed stalker stops, it is because one of three things: he’s in jail, he’s stalking somebody else or he’s dead. The best she can hope for, says Jenny, is to outlive her stalker.
But even when a woman’s stalker dies, he leaves a destructive legacy behind. As criminal profiler John Douglas says: “He has stolen time from her and irrevocably altered the way she sees the world” Douglas continues, “It enrages me to think that a decent, moral, contributing member of society has to pay such a high emotional, physical and financial price on a moment by moment basis so that some degenerate loser can have his fantasies and build up his own feeble, worthless ego.”

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