Background In this study, we examined the under-researched area of Finnish women’s and children’s experiences of post-separation stalking to learn how they experience it in their everyday lives and the impact it has on their wellbeing. In particular, we looked at how post-separation stalking threatens women’s and children’s integrity and how it should be acknowledged in the prevention of stalking and the promotion of victims’ safety.
Methods The data consist of narratives of 20 Finnish women and 13 children who were exposed to post-separation stalking. The women were interviewed individually. The data was collected from children through therapeutic group sessions, thematic interviews and one mother-and-child therapy session.
Results Although women/mothers are the main targets of stalking, it also threatens children’s wellbeing. The latter are used to carry out stalking, as targets of revenge or as abused informants. The data analysis shows that stalking threatens women and children’s integrity socially, psychologically, emotionally, physically, ontologically and morally. As a consequence of these different dimensions of wounding, women’s and children’s safety and security are severely threatened. Wounded integrity reflects on victims’ identities, social relations and everyday activities and is visible in help-seeking processes. Wounded integrity takes on different meanings in the aspects of wellbeing, safety and security.
Conclusions The findings highlight the need for professionals in social and health services, law enforcement and criminal justice to consider the different dimension of how stalking wounds women’s and children’s integrity. Taking these different dimensions of wounding into account will enable the implementation of more effective means to prevent post-separation stalking and promote victims’ safety, security and wellbeing.
- Post-separation stalking against women and children
- safety promotion
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