This year’s theme for national stalking awareness week is Bridging the Gap – it focuses on the need to have independent advocates for victims. Do you think it is important for all victims of stalking to be offered an Independent stalking advocate and if so why?
Absolutely! Having the support of an independent advocate made me feel I had some solely in my corner. Their focus was on me and how they can get me through such a hard time. Their expert knowledge and advice meant they were incredibly supportive. This provided me with coping mechanisms; which made me feel safer.
By having that person to go to talk helped me come to terms with what I was suffering and gave me the courage to get the justice and help I needed.
Did you think what you were experiencing was stalking? Did it surprise you when someone described it in that way to you? What was the impact?
At first I don’t think I did. It was a hard concept to accept. I knew what I was experiencing was wrong and that it was upsetting but I didn’t believe it was serious enough to be stalking. When it escalated and I sought the help of the police it was at that point that stalking was first mentioned. I was then introduced to my stalking advocate. She greatly helped me to comes to terms with it being stalking and that it is not acceptable. I was surprised and felt shell shocked. I was afraid and more vulnerable once others told me the seriousness but my advocate was there to support and guide me through the process of getting the justice and support I needed.
Do you have any advice you would like to give other victims.
Never be afraid to speak up. Never be afraid to seek help and support. My advocate helped me gain the courage I needed to get through it. Speaking with your advocate will be the first little step to feeling a little safer by giving you someone to talk to gain advice and understand exactly what you are going through. You are not alone in this and you will be okay and strong once again.
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