January is Stalking Awareness Month. Most people who are stalked know the person stalking them and the average duration of stalking is 1.8 years.(1) Here are helpful resources: http://www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org/resources.
Brief stalking by strangers in public is also a big problem and one that is very scary for the women being followed. I’ve read close to 200 stories involving women being followed and stalked in public by strangers, including the following two stories:
“I was stalked by a strange man one day in a shopping center, when I was out with my friend. He would just appear in front of us several times, leering at us very aggressively. I started laughing because I was so nervous, and we entered a store and asked for help from the woman clerk. We called my friend’s mom as soon as we were in the store so she would pick us up as we were afraid of staying in that mall.”
“I was once followed home from the subway by two men making sexually explicit comments and suggestions. I ignored them until one grabbed me from behind, at which point I turned around and started to scream profanity at them. That convinced them to leave, since it was crowded. No one came up to offer assistance, or see if I was ok afterward, and I felt ashamed that people saw it happen.”
Have you ever been followed or stalked? If so, how were you able to get away? Do you have any advice to share?