Lenora Claire has labored as an artwork curator, casting director, and actuality TV producer, nevertheless it’s her position as a victims’ rights advocate (Vice journal as soon as dubbed her “the Erin Brockovich of stalking”) that makes her proudest.
After being named one among L.A. Weekly’s People of the Year for her work within the Los Angeles artwork scene, Claire met a person at a 2011 gallery opening who would change the course of her life, in a horrifying approach.
Sporting a spacesuit, Justin Massler — also referred to as “Cloud Starchaser” — approached Claire and struck up a dialog about her perceived resemblance to Jessica Rabbit. “He appeared clever, however unusual,” Claire tells PEOPLE. “He appeared proper at me, and I will always remember it — it is just like the spirals in his eyes began, and he mentioned, ‘I’ll stalk you.'”
Massler started sending Claire “lengthy, sycophantic, rambling letters” that escalated into graphic rape and dying threats that had been “very, very descriptive, very horrifying,” she remembers. Over the course of seven years and hundreds of missives, Massler additionally threatened to homicide Claire’s boss, kidnap Claire, abduct her canine and extra.
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Yearly, about 7.5 million Americans are victims of stalking, in line with the Nationwide Middle For Victims of Crime.
Claire tried to acquire a restraining order in opposition to Massler, however her early makes an attempt had been unsuccessful. So, decided to combat Massler on her personal, Claire labored with mentors like Congressman Adam Schiff and prison prosecutor Rhonda Saunders (who, within the Nineteen Nineties, helped set up America’s first anti-stalking legal guidelines). She additionally started sharing her story publicly on exhibits like Crime Watch Day by day, The Dr. Oz Show and 48 Hours.
Massler was arrested in 2017 and convicted of felony stalking in opposition to Claire in 2018. He was sentenced to 4 years — the utmost penalty for felony stalking in California.
However due to California’s Proposition 57 — a invoice meant to provide nonviolent offenders an opportunity at early parole — Massler was launched in December 2019, after serving two years.
However Claire’s work in advocacy had simply begun. After leaping by so many hoops in her quest for justice, she started serving to different domestic-violence and stalking victims pursue restraining orders in opposition to their perpetrators, in addition to educating herself about victims’ rights and laws — to not point out gaining sensible expertise like “studying find out how to pull GPS trackers off [victims’] automobiles,” she says.
In 2020, Claire, with victim advocate Melissa Centi, co-founded the Victim Advocacy Project, which provides crime victims entry to psychological well being counseling, aid with payments and bills, sufferer compensation, crime scene cleanup and even “human shields” to guard them throughout court docket appearances.
“I used to be in court docket, serving to somebody get a restraining order, and I will always remember this lady I noticed with two black eyes, holding a child,” Claire remembers. “The offender saved taking a look at her, intimidating her and scaring her. … And I used to be like, ‘Not on my watch.’ That is once I began working as a human protect.”
January is Stalking Awareness Month, and Claire’s largest hope is that extra individuals will begin taking stalking as severely as she does. “I am married and in a superb place now, however 5 – 6 years in the past, on the top of this, I used to be only a single lady dwelling in a sh—- studio condominium considering I used to be going to get killed day by day of my life,” she says.
Claire lately began working with the Los Angeles County District Lawyer’s Workplace’s Victims Advisory Board, and he or she’s engaged on drafting a invoice known as SAVE (Stalking Abuse Victims Empowerment) with Congressman Adam Schiff.
She needs to launch a nationwide restraining-order registry, and is trying towards tech for brand new methods to help victims. “Oftentimes while you’re a sufferer, expertise’s used in opposition to you,” she says. “One of many issues I am advocating for is … a program the place we give victims an app that notifies them if their offender is in [close] proximity; an alert that they are in peril.”
She has additionally partnered with Flare, an unassuming-looking “safety bracelet” that tracks your GPS and alerts your most trusted contacts if you happen to press a button indicating you are in peril.
I’ve been speaking about putting ankle screens on stalkers for years and giving victims an app that may notify them if the offender is within the neighborhood. Now that individuals perceive geo fencing I’m lastly capable of have conversations with the individuals who may make this a actuality.
— lenoraclaire (@lenoraclaire) January 26, 2021
“I am most proud that this was not all for nothing,” Claire says. “I speak about privilege lots; I’ve privilege on prime of privilege. Not all people has these alternatives and platforms. It’s important to be twice as loud for individuals who cannot.”