One of the best things I can suggest to readers here is to do an honest assessment of their situation to find out as best they can the circumstances they may find themselves in.
Although we can never predict what a stalker, psychopath or domestic abuser may do, we can at least discover their potential. There are a few ways to accomplish this.
After a couple years of confusion, frustration and banging my head against the wall (well not exactly, but I had A LOT of headaches), I found a great book titled The Gift of Fear, written by Gavin de Becker. It is absolutely one of the best books I have ever bought (and read) related to the subject of stalking and the psychopath.
The book actually spent four months on the New York Times Best Seller List and is published in 13 languages. To me, it is THE book we should read, even if you don’t have a stalker or psychopath (yet). It is not just any book on stalking and domestic abuse.
On both January 29, 2008 and April 15, 2010, Gavin was featured on two Oprah episodes (watch an excerpt here). His knowledge and book helps us to better understand our most available and valuable weapon – our intuition. It is true what he says – we have the ability to sense danger before it happens.
Here are what a few of Oprah’s fans had to say after watching the show:
…My own experience when I was 18… mirrors the idea of fear as a gift. I was visiting a friend after work, then headed home. As I got off the bus (it was around 10 p.m.) and began walking down the street I ‘felt’ someone following me. I decided to not turn into enter our apartment building, and stayed close to the curb and kept walking toward the corner… a man walked passed me, so I figured it was my imagination. He was not from the area, dressed differently as well. When I thought all was ok I headed back up the hill and into the building. I stopped at the mailboxes… and heard someone near the elevator… I could have knocked on someone’s door near the mail boxes, but decided to go up the stairs. Still not totally trusting my feelings. As I approached the top step I spotted his shadow on the wall, his arm toward me, I turned fast and sat on the top step. He slapped me, I told him to take my purse, he said shut up, and put his hand up my skirt at that moment my bladder gave way, and he ran. I thank god I had a full bladder. That was in 1960 I was living with my parents in Brooklyn the next day a young teacher was raped and strangled in an elevator a few blocks away. To this day, I will not get into an elevator in an apartment house. I have learned to listen to that inner voice… that tiny taste of something not right. M (fatthinfat)
…Fear – what a great mechanism for our body. I have taught my children that the feeling of fear is a gift from your guardian angel telling you to stop and think – something is not right. (2000jlws)
…One thing that all women (in particular) need to understand is that perpetrators are predators. Just like a big cat, if they smell fear, you are done for. For instance, if you feel that someone is following you down the street… don’t just write it off as being paranoid. You probably are being followed. If you show (in the littlest way) fear at that point, he knows he has his mark. So, DO something! Cross the street. Find a place with more people or traffic. Duck into a store, restaurant or bar. If worse comes to worse, turn around and stare whom you suspect down. But do it from a position of power. Remember, power radiates! These strategies don’t always come naturally. You may have to work on it. Imagine a scenario and then practice what you will do. Start at home and then take it to the street. The worst that will happen in practicing is that a few other people might think you’re a little weird. Better to be thought weird than be dead… (nlw1959)
…I so believe in listening to that “little voice”! At the start of 7th grade, I enrolled in a literature class that was taught by a male. He would put his hand on my shoulder or give me a look that would just shoot right through me. I was incredibly innocent – I had no concept of even the possibility of a sexual relationship and didn’t even know that adults would consider making advances on kids. But my inner voice was screaming “get away from him!”. So I went to get a change of classes, knowing full well that it was against the rules. I was very surprised when the administration quickly granted my request. Later, as an adult, I heard that he’d gone to prison for molesting 8 of my classmates.
Its too easy to train ourselves to ignore our instincts. Don’t outsmart yourself! (tbest5179)
As I’m watching your show today “The Gift of Fear” I am trembling in my skin. Back in 1999 I was involved in a date rape situation at my college, which changed my life forever. As I sit here watching Dorothy talking about Kevin, I am having flashbacks of that time. I can completely understand having the “get away!” feeling that I had, which was telling me, that he was trying to rule my life. Like her attacker, mine also gave me roses, a kitten, homemade dinners, and other gifts that any young woman would want. But only to follow through with breaking in my townhouse and coming into my bedroom in the middle of the night with questions like, “Are you going to leave me?” “Have you told anyone about what I’ve done? If so I’m going to hurt your family and friends.” He also would show up at my work to “watch” what I was doing or show up at night when I was closing up for work and lurk in the shadows as I would come out to my car…
I finally followed that “get away” feeling after he had stolen some of my things and had hurt the cat. Women SHOULD listen to themselves in every situations in order to keep themselves safe and aware of what and who is around them… Katie in PA (ktbug0912)
…I have been a stalking victim for 23 years and fought with law enforcement from local up to the FBI about this guy and still he is out there running around. It wasn’t until the our Victim-Witness people read this book, that they finally realized I was not crazy. I knew things that this man would do before he did them. I have made my living arrangements so that he cannot look in windows, arranged to not come home at night alone or at least call a neighbor and have them watch for me. I learned early that no one was going to protect me and my sons from this man, but me. I depended on my intuirion as it was all I had and still have. I have neighbors who hear things and tell me, “I almost called the police”. His health has been destroyed by alcohol and he is less of a threat than he used to be, but I am smart enough to know he could bring a gun to a knife fight. READ THE BOOK!!!! It could save your life!!! (danichel00)
Gavin de Becker is THE SPECIALIST when it comes to stalking, harassment and personal safety. If you take a look at his website, you will find he most definitely has the credentials, experience, clients and the organization to back him up.
If you can afford the $10,000 retainer (minimum), his people can help you with a relocation program similar to the witness protection program (but better I imagine). I called them years ago when I was desperate for a solution and nearly fell off my chair when they told me how their program works. I have to admit that to the average person, that is a lot of dough to cough up, so his service is out of reach for most people.
His website has a number of resources, some available for purchase, some articles that are no-charge to read. The main reason why I am suggesting that you check further into Gavin de Becker’s website is that he has developed an awesome online risk assessment tool for anyone affected by stalking, harassment and domestic violence.
It is called MOSAIC, and is used by law enforcement and threat assessment professionals around the world. The best thing for you is, it is FREE and can be done anonymously!
When I performed the assessment, my personal stalker situation scored an 8 out of 10. The test results indicated to me that my particular situation appeared most similar to cases that -have- worsened and escalated. 10 being assigned to the worst situations, the report goes on to talk about how some similar cases have escalated to include worsening abuse, substantial violence, and even homicide.
The story of Nicole Brown, who was murdered by O.J. Simpson, (and, come on, we all know he did it!) was provided as an example in my report. In that situation, there was no justice for Nicole or her family.
So since my situation of having a psychopathic stalker carries a high risk to me (and my loved ones), I am going to take any suggestions and advice that can enhance our safety and wellbeing. Hence, here we are, far, far, far away geographically from my stalker, in another country.
Remember that the more tools in your toolbox, the easier it is to troubleshoot the problem. You may come to the conclusion that it just isn’t fixable and decide the best thing to do is walk away and leave the heap of junk to rot away on its own.
Another assessment that you can find online and print off is called the Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment. Although it may not be as cool or sophisticated as the MOSAIC tool, it is interesting to note that the assessment asks you to plot down the occasions of abuse or danger on a calendar. If you are not in the habit of documenting things or recordkeeping such events in a safe place, maybe it could be a good time to start.
There are a few tools than can be utilized to record and monitor the stalker or psychopath and their behaviour. An event journal is one of them. Going digital is another great idea. You may need your evidence accessible from the internet at any given moment, especially if it has been lost, damaged or stolen. Best to be prepared and ready! I will talk more about how to do that in another post…
Curious… anyone reading this post already familiar with the Gavin de Becker book?
Did you find the MOSAIC tool helpful? Were you surprised at the results of your assessment?
Any other recommendable tools that you know of and can share?
In my next post, I will provide readers with what I consider are the elements of building a Lifeboat, to create more safety and privacy in our lives.
Until then, keep safe and sane…