...we know from experience that temporary restraining orders (such as the one intended to inhibit the actions of Ralph Hadley) often fail. They "work best on the person least likely to be violent anyway," the individual who turned brutal at some point but fears the law more than he desires revenge. In the truly dangerous cases, a restraining order gives the potential victim a false sense of security and perhaps further enrages the abuser.
A woman under serious threat of violence, de Becker believes, must concentrate on making herself absolutely unavailable to the man pursing her. That's her main job. This is profoundly unfair, and many believe the police "should" watch over people like Gillian Hadley, but there's no reason to think they will ever be able to do so. It is the woman herself, or her friends and relatives, who must ensure her safety. The friends must treat her the way they might treat someone with terminal cancer -- as a group responsibility; they must move her to a shelter or refuse to leave her alone for a moment.
To those who imagine that restraining orders have power, de Becker points out that many such murderers also commit suicide. Defeating their wives matters more than life itself, so they are unlikely to be deterred by a judge's signature. In a study of 179 stalking cases in San Diego, Calif., about half the victims felt their cases were worsened by restraining orders.
Gillian Hadley also changed her phone number three times to avoid calls from her husband -- a mistake, de Becker would say. Stalkers always discover the new number. Instead, he says, get a second, unlisted number for friends and put voice mail on the first. "The stalker won't realize you've changed, and you'll have a record of his calls if you need it."