Monday, August 5, 2013
“When someone “shows” you who they are, believe them!”
What is Stalking?
Let’s talk a bit more about stalking behavior, and how dangerous it can be. If a guy is simply showing up at your home or office, he is just exhibiting to you how much he likes you right? WRONG, if he is uninvited and he is doing this often, and you have asked him nicely not to, this is not a show of affection this is stalking.
How common is Stalking?
The National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAW) in a landmark study that collected information about stalking, a nationally representative sample of 8,000 women and 8,000 men across the United States. The survey found that 8% of women and 2% of men have been stalked at some time during their lives. This means that 1 out of every 12 women and 1 out of every 45 men have been stalked at some time during their lives.
This same study shows that the majority of women who are stalked by current or former intimate partners also report having been physically assaulted by these partners and a sizable percentage (1/3) also report having been sexually assaulted by the same partners who stalked them. These important findings suggest that contrary to popular notions about who gets stalked, currently or formerly battered women have the greatest risk of being stalked.
Although the behavior might encourage us to think otherwise, motivation for stalking is not primarily sexual, but is more likely to include anger and hostility towards the victim, often stemming from actual or perceived rejection of the stalker by the victim. Erroneously, victims perceive control and obsessional behavior as primary motives of the stalker.
Raymond believed he loved my aunt and that his attention was supposed to help to show her that (in his fantasy) she loved and wanted him also, in spite of their agreement about not being serious, in other words; in his mind she was just saying that she didn’t want a serious relationship with him, she didn’t really mean it. He was helping her come clean about her feelings! And her continuing to deny her feelings only angered him because he saw her as being difficult, and when she ended the relationship he saw this as a betrayal of their true love and her real feelings for him. In his mind she wanted him as much as he wanted her, and his objective was to prove to her that she did!
Different Types of Stalking
Rejected stalking- arises in the context of the breakdown of a close relationship. Victims are usually former sexual intimates; however family members, close friends, or others with a very close relationship to the stalker can also become targets of Rejected stalking.
The initial motivation of a Rejected stalker is either attempting to reconcile the relationship, or to exacting revenge for a perceived rejection. In many cases, Rejected stalkers present themselves as ambivalent about the victim and sometimes appear to want the relationship back, while at other times they are clearly angry and want revenge on the victim.
Intimacy Seeking stalking arises out of a context of loneliness and a lack of a close confidante. Victims are usually strangers or acquaintances who become the target of the stalker’s desire for a relationship.
Frequently Intimacy Seeking stalkers’ behavior is fueled by a severe mental illness involving delusional beliefs about the victim, such as the belief that they are already in a relationship, even though none exists (Erotomanic delusions- a type of delusional disorder in which the subject harbors a delusion that a particular person is deeply in love with them...).
The initial motivation is to establish an emotional connection and an intimate relationship. The stalking is maintained by the gratification that comes from the belief that they are closely linked to another person
The Incompetent Suitor stalks in the context of loneliness or lust and targets strangers or acquaintances. Unlike the Intimacy Seeker, however, their initial motivation is not to establish a loving relationship, but to get a date or a short term sexual relationship. Incompetent Suitors usually stalk for brief periods, but when they do persist; their behavior is usually maintained by the fact that they are blind or indifferent to the distress of victim. Sometimes this insensitivity is associated with cognitive limitations or poor social skills consequent to autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disability.
Predatory stalking arises in the context of deviant sexual practices and interests. Perpetrators are usually male and victims are usually female strangers with whom the stalker develops a sexual interest. The stalking behavior is usually initiated as a way of obtaining sexual gratification (e.g., voyeurism targeting a single victim over time), but can also be used as a way of obtaining information about the victim as a precursor to a sexual assault. In this sense, the stalking is both instrumental and also gratifying. For those stalkers who enjoy the sense of power and control that comes from targeting the usually unsuspecting victim.
Resentful stalking arises when the stalker feels as though they have been mistreated or that they are the victim of some form of injustice or humiliation. Victims are strangers or acquaintances who are seen to have mistreated the stalker. Resentful stalking can arise out of a severe mental illness when the perpetrator develops paranoid beliefs about the victim and uses stalking as a way of ‘getting back’ at the victim.
The initial motivation for stalking is the desire for revenge or to “even the score” and the stalking is maintained by the sense of power and control that the stalker derives from inducing fear in the victim. Often Resentful stalkers present themselves as a victim who is justified in using stalking to fight back against an oppressing person or organization.
Although there is no “one size fits all” list of recommendations that will be applicable to all stalking situations, there are four Golden Rules that should be followed if you find yourself the victim of stalking;
1. Have No contact with the stalker
2. Tell others
3. Increase Personal protection
4. Collect evidence
After the stalker has been told by the victim in a calm, clear and firm manner that their attention is unwanted and that they are to stop all contact, the victim, their family and friends should have no further contact with the stalker.
Stalkers want a reaction whether it’s positive or Negative; it is crucial to ensure that everyone involved understands the importance of not appealing to the stalker to stop. The Police should be the only ones to confront the stalker. (Mullen, 2009)
All states and the Federal Government have passed anti-stalking legislation. Definitions of stalking found in state anti-stalking statutes vary in their language, although most define stalking as “the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety”.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Only someone who has battled depression can understand the sheer darkness of it. Every day when you find the strength to open your eyes, you’re at the bottom of the same pit of despair. You have to squint to be able to see even a sliver of light.
I’ve struggled with chronic depression for most of my life. At one point in college, I reached such a low that I tried to take my own life.
After spending three weeks in the hospital, there was still a cloud of depression looming over me. I wasn’t capable of making good decisions. My judgment was not only poor, but it was dangerous at times. I actually married an abusive man from whom I had to go into hiding to escape.
Fast forward fifteen years, a caring husband, and a breast cancer diagnosis later.
Little did I know that my new enemy would become my strongest ally in my lifelong battle against depression; the irony is surreal when I really think about it.
Grateful is a strong word, but I will say that I’m not sorry I was diagnosed with cancer. I feel that cancer was my own personal saving grace. It served a purpose in my life—if nothing else, as a bridge to manage my depression.
Faced with my own mortality at the age of 41, I was terrified of leaving this world without leaving a mark.
Where was that suicidal college student? Now, she was willing to do anything to preserve her life when at one time she tried to throw it away.
I wasn’t prepared to settle for my life being for nothing. Suffering in silence was not an option any longer. This challenge was bigger than me, and I had to come out of hiding and share my voice with the world.
During my treatments and my surgery, I launched an online community called My Personal Breast Cancer Journey. The tagline, We’re In This Together, does a good job of summing it all up. MyPersonalBreastCancerJourney.com is a club nobody wants to be a member of, but it does provide a tremendous amount of support for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and survivors alike, across the world.
Helping these women, who are in the same spot I found myself in last year, gives me something to occupy my mind, helps me to remain positive on my darkest days, and these survivor stories fill me with inspiration.
Cancer helped me manage my depression and identify my purpose in life, which I believe is to help other women work through their fight with breast cancer to not only survive, but to thrive and to find their own raison d'être. To let them know they aren’t in this alone and I’m always ready to provide a big hug for each of them even if it’s virtual.
Whatever obstacle you face, be it cancer, a deteriorating relationship or another type of tragedy; find a way to use it as a springboard instead of looking at it as a sentence. Use it to make your life better instead of worse. And seek support from others going through the same thing.
If you are recently diagnosed with breast cancer or a survior, grab your free guide here:
If you know someone who has been recently diagnosed and you want to help, receive a free copy of:
MyPersonalBreastCancerJourney.com is an online resource and community for women affected by breast cancer. It was founded by strong, beautiful survivor, Sandy Bobal-Zuniga. We’re in this together.
Bio: In her early 20s, Sandy Bobal-Zuniga was willing to take her own life to escape the hell of chronic depression she was living in. Fifteen years later, she was prepared to do anything in her power to win her battle against Stage 2 breast cancer.
Faced with her own mortality, Sandy was afraid to die without leaving a positive mark on the world. Before opting to undergo a single mastectomy, Sandy vowed that if she survived cancer and its havoc-wreaking treatments, she would create an organization that would educate, empower, advocate for and support women affected by breast cancer.
As founder and Chief Hug Officer of My Personal Breast Cancer Journey, Sandy is helping women around the world survive and then thrive.
Sandy is dedicating her life to creating a legacy of compassion for women who are diagnosed until there is a world free of breast cancer. MyPersonalBreastCancerJourney.com