When Dr. Ann Dapice, a member of the Menominee and Lenape tribes, founded T.K. Wolf, Inc. in 1998 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to treat addiction problems, she didn't expect stalking to become such a significant issue.
“We started out with addiction and mental health. Little did we realize that stalking would turn out to be one of the addictions that we'd have to deal with in Indian country,” Dapice told kgou.org. “Although, in this case, it's not addiction of the Indians, it's addiction on the part of the non-Indians who are predominantly the stalkers of Indians.
Stalking Resource Center statistics (2009) show that 6.4 million become stalking victims in the US every year—more than annual victims of heart attacks (2.1 million), strokes (700,000) and breast cancer (200,000) combined.
“…We are stalked at twice the rate of any other group,” Dapice said.
Unlike other crimes, stalking can continue for an extended period of time and has been characterized as a chronic law enforcement problem, states the T.K. Wolf website. Stalking is a criminal offense but in spite of existing laws, most cases do not result in criminal intervention and very few result in criminal prosecution.
The impact on stalking victims is often severe, according to victimsofcrime.org:
— 46 percent of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.
— 29 percent of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop.
— 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more.
— 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization.
— The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one's property destroyed.
The majority of stalkers are former intimate partners, Dapice notes.
When a victim of stalking comes to T.K. Wolf, first, the organization's representatives simply listen. “The first thing when people come to us, who are being stalked, we listen to them. And I can't say that enough. Too often they're told what they should do, they're told to get protective orders, but most often they're not believed,” Dapice said.
T.K. Wolf also documents the information, which is particularly crucial for victims whose computers may be compromised or trashed by their stalkers, or who have to suddenly move as a result of stalking. "We literally have files in the cloud for victims," Dapice told kgou.org.
Dapice also emphasized to kgou.org that, unlike law enforcement, T.K. Wolf does not urge victims to immediately file protective orders, because such actions can prompt the stalker to retaliate with violence.
Other services and applications that aid stalking victims are My Mobile Witness—a unique free personal protection service that allows anyone to create an account that stores text messages and photos in a secure location that can only be opened by a subpoena or an order from a police officer or law enforcement agency—and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA), which serves as a tool for those who are already an unfortunate victim of abuse and violence. The ‘Document the Abuse’ website provides additional information.
Victims of stalkign can also call the National Center for Victims of Crime Helpline at 1-800-FYI-CALL, M-F 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM EST, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.