News Search

Guest speaks to Mighty Ninety about stalking

  • Published
  • By Staff Reports
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

For Anna Nasset, a stalking survivor, the word “stalking” carries a lot of baggage.

Nasset spoke at the base theater on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, April 14, 2022, about how someone she nicknamed “Jeffrey” had been stalking her for approximately a decade.

Jeffery revealed himself as her stalker shortly after she opened an art gallery more than a decade ago. From that point forward, Jeffery has been a constant stressor in her life. After initially approaching Nasset at her business, Jeffery began writing letters to her.

“He’d make very threatening comments within his letters,” said Nasset. “He would talk about all of the different ways I should be killed and the fact that we are married in his mind. He does have a schizophrenic diagnosis.”

Nasset notes that not all people with a mental health diagnosis behave like Jeffery, who has been offered assistance from his community, family and court system but did not accept the assistance offered.

“There’s still so little known about stalking, so people don’t take it seriously,” said Nasset. “Victims are told they’re overreacting. It is just a crime that is so rarely taken seriously, and it intersects with other forms of violence such as domestic violence and sexual assault. 78% of women murdered by a former or current partner faced a component of stalking in the year prior.”

Nasset’s motivation to tell her story publicly stems from her desire to spread awareness about the subject and assist other survivors that have dealt with or are currently dealing with a stalker.

“I never intended on being a public speaker,” said Nasset. “That was the last thing I ever would have considered doing. I used to have to talk occasionally when I had my art gallery and I was horrible, so when I started getting asked to speak, I really had to sit and think about my reason for doing this. It came down to doing a service for others. If my story can get someone else freedom or save someone else’s life, I don’t need to ever know. If one person is alive because of my story then I’ve fulfilled my purpose 100%.”

She believes that lives can be saved if society treats stalking more seriously.

“One of the things I think is so important in society is to start looking at our language, especially around stalking, and how we throw around words like that,” said Nasset. “I know I probably did this before I was a victim of stalking — how we say ‘I’m going to go stalk this cute guy on instagram,’ or ‘I saw you twice today, are you stalking me?’”

Nasset believes that using the word “stalking” as a joke degrades its seriousness and severity, and encourages people to try and recognize when they use the word as a joke.

“I feel like we have the ability to shift culture when we start to shift our language, because it allows people to know we’re standing up for these things, and we’re not tolerating these things,” said Nasset.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office on base became familiar with Nasset after she attended the National Organization for Victim Assistance last September.

“We come together and come up with worthwhile things for the base to do on the topic,” said Becki Burke, a SAPR victim advocate at the 90th Missile Wing. “Quite frankly, getting a survivor to step forward and try and talk about their experience is tough at best.”

Burke is grateful that Nasset was willing to travel to Cheyenne and open up about her traumas for the sake of helping Airmen on base.
“People don’t want to think about it until it happens to them, and it’s a huge deal,” said Burke. “If I can get somebody in front of our Airmen that’s lived it, gone through it and they can be a little empathetic toward that situation, they will be more aware of it going forward.”

80-85% of sexual assaults primarily start with sexual harassment and stalking, according to Burke.

“Sexual assault is a huge thing,” said Burke. “If we can do what we can in order to suppress it and prevent it, by all means, I will do what it takes to get it done.”

Nasset offers words of encouragement for survivors of stalking and sexual assault.

“I should have been killed by Jeffery,” said Nasset. “It was the incredible services of law enforcement, advocates, judges and prosecutors that are why I’m here today. I really want to encourage anybody that is a survivor to know that you’re not alone. Even in the darkest moments, when you don’t know how to carry on, think of me and how I made it through, think of the people alongside you, think of that one person you can call in the middle of the night and make that call. You are so worth it. You are so worth knowing how strong and brave you are. You’re so worth being able to walk this world a little bit lighter and freer.”

Jeffery was sentenced to prison for 10 years at the end of 2019 for his crimes against Nasset. He has since attempted to reach out to Nasset, through other people, while incarcerated.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a stalker, contact local law enforcement or the base SAPR office for assistance.