She’s one of a not-so-small group of Americans who gets stalked each year.
According to the Stalking Resource Center, seven million Americans deal with stalking each year. Two-thirds of stalkers harass their victims at least once per week, and many do it daily.
Worse yet, a high percentage of stalking cases end in homicide. Based on statistics provided by the resource center- a part of the National Center for Victims of Crime- approximately 76-percent of female homicide victims were stalked within a year of their deaths.
These statistics ring true in the back of Jones’ mind as she continues the battle to take back her private life.
A FAMILIAR FACE
Jones met her stalker in the late 1980s and married him after years of dating. Three children later, they divorced. But Jones says he never really left. He keeps tabs on her every day.
Not long after being served with divorce papers, Jones said her ex started “stalking” her, but he played it off as though he was doing things to help her out.
“It was done in an, ‘I’m doing this for you’ way,” she said. “Meaning, he installed a remote start in my car with the excuse that I could start the car on cold days from inside the house. But I later discovered the racking device (a type of tracking device).
“I always got presents with some sort of Blue Tooth device such as the car key finder, the cell phone head phones, the Blue Tooth connector to the car speakers and radio,” she said. “I know now that all of those were means to be able to track and listen to my conversations.”
Jones’ said her stalker hacks into her computer and online accounts. He also hacks into her cell phone, reads her messages, looks at her photos and listens in on her conversations. She said he’s even gone so far as to pay someone to follow her.
Efforts to protect herself have failed, so Jones makes sure to document everything and continues to make police reports.
“I constantly change passwords, change security settings, but all of this has to be done at someone else’s computer, in case he is using key stroke recording, otherwise he will see all the changes,” Jones said. “I had to wipe the hard drive in my computer, constantly clear my search history and keep the very important stuff off electronics.”
Jones said she just wants to move on with her life, free of harassment and fear of what her stalker might do, but it’s a constant battle.
“I’m exhausted! It is like you have been thrust into this reality TV show that you did not sign up for, nor is it making me popular or rich,” Jones said. “I feel like I am under a microscope and every aspect of my life is exposed to someone that I don’t want around. I worry when I see the statistics that 76 percent of homicide victims have been stalked within a year of their murder and I’m afraid that he may escalate to do just that.”
KNOW SOMEONE THAT’S BEING STALKED?
Download The National Center For Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center Brochure
*Subject’s name has been changed to protect her identity. She lives in Western North Carolina, but her hometown is not disclosed to once again protect her identity.