the shelter, I did counseling and they helped me understand that this was not my fault, that I was deceived by a very sick man who manipulated me. They taught me about the Wheel of Power and Control and the ways people like him manipulate their targets emotionally and physically. The more I shared with other women, the more I learned that I wasn’t alone and that there were women who had been stalked and terrorized even worse than I had been. It helped me shed the embarrassment I had felt for being deceived.”
Exhausted from living on the run, Lana returned home with her grand-daughter. Fortunately, she had the means to hire round-the-clock security and the county police – still upset that prosecutors had let David out on bond after he’d attacked one of their own—installed a security camera outside of Lana’s house to help catch David, should he break his bond.
“In the meantime, I wore wigs, I changed my clothes, I always had a bag packed in my car with clothes and canned food for me and my grand-daughter. I always had cash on me in case I had to run.”
In no time, David was back at Lana’s house and the security camera caught him. Police locked him up until his trial for violating his bond. Finally at trial, David was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Six and a half of those years were suspended.
Though Lana doesn’t believe David has bothered her in years, she confessed, “I still don’t sleep with all my lights off.” For the women who don’t have the means to go on the run or hire security, she has dedicated her life to bringing awareness to the crime of stalking, working with the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women during its National Stalking Awareness Month. She’s now working on securing more severe penalties for stalking.
“I just want people to know that stalking is dangerous crime. A lot of domestic violence assaults and deaths have a stalking component to them. And to the victims, it’s not your fault. Though most people are stalked by someone they know, people can be stalked by total strangers. You didn’t cause it and it’s not about love. Keep records of every incident and threat with the police. And get counseling. There are people and resources out here to help you.”
*Names and states have been changed