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Woman speaks about past stalker

(Source: stalkingawarenessmonth.org) (Source: stalkingawarenessmonth.org)
(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - According to one study, 7.5 million people are stalked in the United States each year. The majority of the stalking victims are being stalked by someone they know.  

Stalking is described as the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassment of a person that makes them feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or terrorized. Since stalking effects so many people, including friends, family, and neighbors, January was made stalking awareness month.

Jessica, the victim, said it all started with a simple note left under her door but things then escalated to where she was getting notes left on her car and emails multiple times a week talking about what she was doing and what she was wearing. 

"I wouldn't want to relive it because that not knowing keeps you up at night and you obsess over it," Jessica said.

It all started just a few months into Jessica's freshman year of college. 

"It got to the point where I was paranoid all the time because you didn't know who it was,” Jessica said.

She said as the stalking got worse, she became closed off to everyone where she didn't have much contact outside of work and class. 

"I went home for Christmas break, and I got an email talking about something me and my boyfriend were doing. That was the first time it had gone beyond complimentary to aggressive. You shouldn't be with him...things like that," Jessica said.

That's when Jessica and her boyfriend went to state troopers and police about the situation. Since she didn't know who her stalker was or what they looked like, the departments weren't able to help her much.

Sergeant Timothy Jenkins with the Lawton Police Department said there are some things you to help deter stalkers.
 
"If you know that you are actively being stalked as well, change your routines up. Don't make it easy for them to stalk you. Take different routes to work, take different routes home. Monitor your house, monitor where you live at, monitor your neighborhood," Jenkins said.

In Jessica's case she didn't just change her routines, she changed colleges. But, she said she still found herself looking over her shoulder for the next three years. It wasn't until after graduation when she made another drastic change that she could finally begin to relax.
 
"It started to get easier when I moved overseas because I was an ocean away. It starts to really separate itself but to this day, it takes a very long time before I'll trust somebody enough to let them in. I'm very particular about who I let around me," Jessica said.

It's been 18 years since Jessica was stalked and she still has no idea who it was, but she does have a message to deliver.

"I know that stalkers will say I really cared about them but if you truly cared about a person, you wouldn't want them to hurt like that and you wouldn't want them to suffer like that, and you wouldn't want to do that to somebody," Jessica said.

Jenkins said people stalk for multiple different reasons. Sometimes it's because of a bad breakup and they're not ready to let go, it could also be just because the opportunity presents itself, and he says sometimes it's for no reason at all.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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