NEW YORK (PIX11) – The trial of a woman accused of stalking actor Alec Baldwin was headline news this week, but celebrities are not the only people who have this problem.
According to Safe Horizon, the largest victim assistance agency in the country, thousands of New Yorkers are stalking victims every year. There are millions across the country.
“Stalking like domestic violence, like sexual assault is under reported,” Liz Roberts of Safe Horizon said.
PIX11 met a Queens woman Friday who was stalked for years. She never went for help. She said she didn’t know where to go. “I felt very lonely and at times I felt like I wanted to run away and just disappear,” she said.
Stalking is described as a pattern of harassment. It can be unwanted visits, phone calls, emails or texts. According to experts, cyberstalking has grown tremendously in recent years. Stalking can lead to physical or sexual violence.
According to Safe Horizon, 50 percent of stalking victims are under the age of 30. Women are more likely to be stalked but men are victims too.
“There are no easy answers, but there is help available,” Roberts said.
The organization recommends that victims tell friends and family. They don’t need to suffer alone. They also are encouraged to change their routines and keep a stalking journal. The evidence can help a victim get an order of protection. Also, report the stalking to police.
Help is as close as calling 3-1-1. Victims will be connected to Safe Horizon or a trained counselor. But experts recommend that if someone is in immediately danger to call 9-1-1.