Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Houston, we have a problem

Of course this is about Navy Captain Lisa Marie Nowak, astronaut, now possibly facing attempted murder charges. If you get past the diaper and "lust in space" jokes, stalking is a serious issue facing many people, particularly women.

From news reports, Nowak claimed she was only trying to scare Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman into "talking" with her about a common romantic interest. Shipman apparently recognized that Nowak was stalking her, ran and got into her car. After securely locking herself in, Shipman felt compelled to partly roll down her window to speak with a crying Nowak, only to find herself pepper-sprayed.

What does this mean for your safety? Do not trust your stalker. Do not communicate with your stalker. If they try to contact you 100 times and you respond on the 101st time, even if it's telling them to get lost, that only teaches them that the cost of a response is 100 attempts. And they will repeat the cycle, and you won't enjoy that.

Stalking has only recently been recognized as a serious threat to personal safety and a crime. Enforcement is difficult. However, if you believe you are being stalked, be sure to document all incidents and contact your police department and abused women's hotline for recommendations.

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