|Posted on January 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM|
The very word strikes most of us with a variety of negative emotions, most of them dominated by fear. All too often stalking incidents evolve into violence and even the death of the victim. There have been far too many examples of this, including some very famous people who had become the apple of some psychopath's eye.
But stalking isn't just something that happens to celebrities or people in the public eye, and it doesn't necessarily involve only strangers or psychopaths who take it into their heads to stalk someone for whatever twisted reasons may make sense to them alone.
Stalking isn't just a 'sport' for men - there have been many instances of women stalking men, or other women, too. It's been the theme of many books and movies.
Over the years attitudes have changed - stalking is no longer seen as something done by a besotted would-be suitor or lover - yes, once was considered almost flattering to have a stalker - at least, onlookers may have thought that. No-one who has ever been a victim of stalking would see it as in the least bit romantic or flattering.
Once upon a time, a woman complaining to the police about being stalked would have had a hard time getting them to take her seriously - a little like the victims of rape who also suffered from the macho attitudes prevalent.
I remember a case some years ago in a small town near to where I lived. A woman who was trying to get away from an abusive husband had gone so far as the get a restraining order preventing him from approaching her. He broke that order many times and the police seemed to be filing her increasingly panicked complaints in the round file. At least, they appeared to do very little to protect her.
And then one day, in broad daylight, he walked up to her in the street and stabbed her to death.
Proof that attitudes are changing is in a report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, titled: Stalking - It's Not Love. This report talks about what stalking really is, the dangers, and what a person can do to stay safe. It refers to stalking as criminal harrassment, which it most certainly is!
There's another report available through the same RCMP site that is also useful - it's called family and relationship violence and the link is here.
Now you may be wondering why, in a blog that is mostly dedicated to writing and in particular, to writing romance, I should suddenly go off on a rant about stalking?
Well, the truth is that my most recent release, Saving Maggie (Crimson Romance) involves a woman trying to escape from a stalker. Maggie Kendall's stalker kills people he believes have hurt her, making her terrified of forming any close relationships (it's not unusual for stalkers to threaten those close to their victim). In this case, there's also a terrifying psychic link, forged by an experience in her teen years, between Maggie and her stalker. But Maggie and the killer both know that he will eventually kill Maggie herself if he's not stopped.
And, while the story idea came out of the blue - or so I thought - I suddenly remembered the young man who stalked me when I was seventeen. I was too young and naive to understand the dangers that can erupt from such a situation, but I found it frightening and embarrassing that this guy would follow me down dark country roads, turn up everywhere I went, and on one aweful occasion, went so far as to attack another boy who asked me for a date.
Looking back, I realise that this was luckily probably a mild form of stalking and the problem was sorted out after my older brothers took him aisde for a quiet 'chat'.
But obviously this event had a greater impact than I had thought, because years later it sprang to mind in the form of a story idea! Here's a link to a blurb about Saving Maggie, here, and to a blog I wrote for Crimson Romance on the same topic, here.
If you have an opinion on stalking, or have undergone this kind of terrifyng experience, do leave a comment either here on on the Crimson Romance blog, and check out the RCMP site's information. I do believe that we can support each other and learn from each other's experiences, and by talking, we can perhaps help prevent another woman from becoming a stalker's victim.
Now that I've got this out of my system, I want to wish you all a very wonderful New Year - especially to the almost 16000 readers who were sweet enough to download a copy of The No Sex Clause, my Christmas romance, when I offered it for free a few days ago! Thank you!