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PAGE 41

“That poor woman!” Annabel sighed.

“If she’d only reached out for help before it was too late, maybe we could have averted this tragedy,” Higgins remarked.

“I don’t understand why she even attempted to tackle this madman on her own. He was clearly out of control long ago.”

“Embarrassment, underestimating the threat he posed,” Higgins offered.

“We need to educate more people about stalking and how far it can go,” she observed.

“Yeah, we have programs out there, but the people involved have to avail themselves first. Too many are of the same ilk as this young woman. If the stalker was a part of their family (they were once married or in a committed relationship) or possibly a close friend, they may not believe the situation is as serious as it is, that the situation could escalate to the point they could be harmed. Then too, most stalkers are great manipulators, adept at conning close friends or family into believing their drivel and that the victim is deluded.”

“Oh my god, you mean family turns on the victim?”

“Yeah, it happens. If they don’t see scars or bruising, they don’t believe it’s as bad as the victim is saying.” He paused, “It’s the last straw for a lot of victims, and some have been forced to cut ties with their family out of self-preservation.”

“So they become a prisoner,” she sat still staring down at her plate. “Suddenly, I’m not a hungry as I thought I was.”

“You’re a victim too, indirectly,” Higgins stared directly at her.

“I definitely understand her frame of mind. I mean, my life is disrupted, my activities curtailed, I’ve been cut off from family and friends for their safety as much as mine. It’s easy to feel victimized and a prisoner, hell you are!”

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