Stalking and Violence: More Common Than You Think

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August 24, 2010

When you embark on a career in Human Resources, you will soon find that stalking and violence are closer than you think.  No matter what industry you are part of, it’s there.  And, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just stalking and violence against women.  There are also quite a few reported cases against men.  And, many cases are never reported, so it’s challenging to really talk about the commonality of the problem.

I recently read a post by my good friend Sarah White that addressed the very personal side of this issue.  You can read her post HERE.  It’s not a post to judge.  It’s a post that demonstrates that these situations can happen to anyone.  And, people often suffer in silence.  Like Sarah, I had a situation where I was stalked for about nine months.  It happened when I was in my late teens.  It’s nothing I want to get into the details of but suffice to say that it involved looking over my shoulder at every turn and fearing this person would make good on his threats to hurt me and to hurt himself.  It did not end until he did hurt himself and I finally told my parents.  They helped me report the problem so that the person could get help.

As HR professionals, when faced with these situations in the workplace we need to be prepared to help the employee.  Each situation is unique and you may need to be prepared to contact the local police, your organization’s security team, and refer the employee to EAP for further assistance.  Here are a few other resources that you may find helpful to have at your fingertips:

  • National Center for Victims of Crime Helpline–  You can call them at 1-800-FYI-CALL, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am- 8:30 pm EST or via e-mail at gethelp@ncvc.org.
  • Find sanctuary, resources, and community at StalkingVictims.com.
  • Sometimes it’s a case of domestic violence spilling over into the workplace.  For great information and safety training, I highly recommend connecting with Larry Kaminer, President and CEO of the Personal Safety group. Larry has been gracious enough to guest post for me last fall right before the holiday shopping season.  He provided safety tips for us then and he is certainly a great resource to have if you are a HR professional who may need guidance.  Tell him I sent you.

3 Comments

  • I was stalked by a client aboout twenty years ago. I lived six blocks from my salon, and she would be walking behind. She would also come into the salon sometimes three times in a month to see me. My boss did not back me up, and I ended up moving to a different town as a result of it. I don’t know if she would have harmed me, but she freaked me out pretty good. Ever since then, I made it a hard and fast rule to never live in the same town I work in.

    Back then, stalking against men really wasn’t taken seriously. Thank G’d it’s taken more seriously these days.

  • I had seen Sarah’s post on this same subject. I must say as a father to a daughter two things crossed my mind:
    1. It still seems to be misinterpreted that women who voice storng opinions are saucey while men with strong opinions are thought leaders.
    2. Those who hide behind communication devices with wrong intentions are almost always sissies!

    To all my friends in these fourms. Keep fighting the good fight and if you need a middle weight champion to clean up your network you know who to call!

    Dave

  • I’ve never had that happen to me thankfully. I don’t know how much interest there is in stalking chubby white guys with boring lives though. Wait, yes I do: None.

    I do know I’ve dealt with it as a HR professional and your advice is spot on. I’ve never been hesitant to call a non-emergency police line, corporate security and/or human services agencies depending on the situation. I think there is a certain level of embarrassment when it rears its head at work too but I can’t reassure people enough that it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t like it was something they brought into work.

    Good stuff from both you and Sarah. Thanks for sharing.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

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