Stalking awareness: Jane speaks out

Wednesday, January 9th 2008, 8:27 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

Stalking is a crime that's under-reported and tough to investigate. The state is doing their part to fight the often overlooked crime.

A lot of people wore silver ribbons at the capital on Wednesday to show how stalking is a serious crime.

One Oklahoman was brave enough to share her story with us. She is a stalking survivor and she wants to be anynomous, so we will call her "Jane."

"You don't know if somebody's going to jump out of the bushes at you. You don't know where they could be hiding or if they're following you to work or what not," Jane said.

Jane recalls when her ex-husband stalked her. He made countless threatening phone calls, hired private investigators to follow her and made her fear for her life.

"These guys are good, they want to instill fear and terror in you, they're calculating and they're not gonna stop until someone makes them stop," Jane said.

Jane's not alone, 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetimes. The problem, not everyone reports the crime and police don't always investigate.

January is now stalking awareness month in Oklahoma. Marcia Smith with the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a new campaign message.

"We can end this silent fear but we can't do it by being quiet, we can end this silent fear by treating stalking like the serious crime it is," Smith said.

"If a person is stalking, they're liable to commit acts of violence, they're liable to commit murder we know that from the statistics so it's not only serious, it's deadly serious," said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

That's why this stalking survivor encourages every victim to keep a record of the perpetrator's behavior to help build a case for police.

Advocates can't emphasize it enough, call police. To charge someone with stalking, the harassment and threats must happen repeatedly and make the victim fearful.