Needed—A Spotlight on Stalking
| December 16, 2011
The subject of an episode of “Stalked: Someone's Watching,” the author calls on the media to investigate and report on the kind of help required by survivors of stalking crimes.
On Monday (10:30 PM, EST), Investigation Discovery (I.D., part of the Discovery Channel) will feature an episode of its series “Stalked: Someone’s Watching,” which dramatizes my personal experience as a survivor of stalking.
The attention is welcome. There has been a dearth of coverage in the entertainment and news media of the reality of domestic violence and stalking issues in the 21st century.
First, some background. In 2004, after years of physical and mental abuse, I fled an abusive boyfriend and the home we once shared; but within 24 hours, I became trapped in a new form of hell as my sociopathic abuser—a professional investigator—began relentlessly stalking and cyberstalking me. Physically, and using a computer, he was watching my every move.
For almost three years, he devised new ways to control and torment me, foiling my attempts to start a new life. I lost the ability to work. I lost money and, even worse, my good credit history—which meant I couldn’t move, get an apartment, get a car, get a loan or find a job. I lost friends and the support of family. After three solid years of torture and abuse, there was even a point when I lost the will to live.
With equal tenacity, I reached out for help, but I was rebuffed by social service agencies, the police and the courts. That meant I had to rescue myself; so I used my wits to turn the tables on my predator for good.
Finally, five years later, I’m solvent and successful—but it took thousands of hours of attention to the problem to repair my credit and stop his attacks, including having to make extreme financial decisions. I also filed endless reports to the police, to the sheriff, the FBI and the district attorney’s office. I finally began braving the outside world again to meet people who believed in me, believed my story and could connect me to others who could help.
I'm not alone as a stalking survivor. According to a major governmental survey released just this week—conducted by the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control—one in six U.S. women has been stalked. And a large majority of the women surveyed who were stalked or victimized by sexual violence also reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being targeted. The stalkers' tactics varied: more than half the women said her stalker approached her or showed up at her office or home; nearly a quarter said the stalker snuck into her home or car.
I not only fought back, but now I’m helping others regain control. Seeing how few useful resources there were for domestic abuse and stalking victims, in 2007 I founded Survivors in Action, a national non-profit organization that: 1) fights for better services for all crime victims; and 2) demands accountability from those who provide them. We’ve taken the crusade all the way to the White House.
There are solutions to the growing number of victims of stalking, cyberstalking and domestic violence being left behind, and they are more than reasonable. However in order to garner support to bring about reform, exposing the issue is vital. We need proactive media to investigate such issues as reform of domestic violence laws, access of victims to funded resources, and growing homicide rates when victims are unable to find proper assistance or tap into resources. And little is known as yet about how cyberstalking is increasingly being used to stalk and harass.
The media is vital to reform efforts. There is no other way to call to action the public or to pressure politicians to take action. If you are a blogger, journalist, or documentarian, I’d love to work with you; please visit my website at http://www.AlexisMoore.com. Contact me at http://www.survivorsinaction.org for more information on stalking and DV reform. I can also connect you to other survivors and activists.
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC. WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.
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