WOMEN must not underestimate male stalkers as this behaviour may be a prelude to murder, warned acting supt Claire Guy-Alleyne, head of the Special Victims Department of the police service on Wednesday. She spoke on the theme, Stalking and steps to get help, at an online seminar on gender based violence launched by Genders Affairs Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy on the overall theme was Death Before Divorce: Why Are Some Men Unable to Walk Away?
Guy-Alleyne began by urging people not to ask why women victims did not leave abusive relationships, when in fact it was the abusers who should leave.
She revealed that abusers could be of any age, race or religion, saying, “There is no single profile of a domestic violence perpetrator.”
However she said perpetrators all shared certain traits such as being assertive and intimidatory and displaying controlling behaviour and psychological and physical abuse. However, abusers could sometimes be agreeable and kind and really nice. “Literature indicates it is not always a mental health illness,” she said.
Guy-Alleyne said abuse was not about the perpetrator losing control, but was about the opposite, that is, them displaying power and control. “Perpetrators know what they are doing.”
She said an episode of abuse typically consists of a cycle of tension-building, violent episode and reconciliation, even as perpetrators often re-offend.
Guy-Alleyne warned that reconciliation was a very dangerous time.
“Deaths can occur. I’m warning persons to be very, very careful when you are thinking about reconciliation. Ensure it is done with some structure and assistance.
“Don’t take the offender’s word, ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘It’s not going to happen again.’ ‘You caused it to happen’.
“Be careful with those words. Do not play with your life.”
Guy-Alleyne urged women seeking to leave an abusive relationship to reach out to friends or family or the TTPS Special Victims Department to assist with planning a safe escape.
She urged victims thinking of leaving to keep a record of the abuse including photos, bloodied clothing and hospital visits.
“Just have a little notebook in a certain place, at home or at work.”
“If you think you are being stalked, do not take that lightly.
“Any time you see a perpetrator start to stalk his survivor or the victim, listen to me, listen to me! That person is getting ready to kill you. That is how serious it is.
“We have had one or two instances where that has occurred.”
Guy-Alleyne said if a victims starts seeing a perpetrator showing up at her workplace or at the local grocery when she visits, she must not think these things were coincidental.
“You are being stalked. Once you think you are being stalked take it very, very seriously.
“Stalking prevents the victim from being able to cut off contact with the abusive partner. Be careful. Often stalking causes the victim to experience so much fear and anxiety.”
She said the police will help victims who reach out, but victims need to help provide statements, evidence and corroborating witnesses.
“At the Special Victims Department we assist in applications for protection orders. We do welfare checks on our survivors and even the perpetrators.
“If there is an order in effect, persons (perpetrators) may think twice because we are always in your face to ensure you are abiding by any orders the court may have or that you are keeping the peace and everything is well at home.” Guy-Alleyne was committed to working with everyone to make TT become free of gender based violence.