This blog tends to be lighthearted most of the time and about books, the ones I’ve read and the ones I want to read. Sometimes it is about writing and my personal pursuits. But on occasion something happens in life and I feel the need to get a bit more serious.
Today, I wanted to share some important info with everyone about stalking. Sure, people joke about it, make passing remarks and everyone seems to have their own ideas about what it means, but when it happens to you, it can be a truly frightening and even dangerous situation.
What is stalking? According to the United States Department of Justice:
Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Stalking can include:
Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.
Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place.
Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets.
Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property.
Harassing victim through the internet.
Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim’s garbage, following the victim, contacting victim’s friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.
Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime
So what should you do if this is happening to you? First of all, you have to accept that it can happen to anyone, male or female and that downplaying these types of behaviours can result in bodily harm to you or someone you love. This is NOT okay. You should have a right to use social media, your phone and live your life without fear of someone always being there making you miserable and making you feel insecure and unsafe.
What can you do about it?
There are many steps that can be taken to help protect yourself and to let the person involved in these actions know that you will not tolerate it.
- Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous.
- No two stalking situations are alike.
- There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet victims can take steps to increase their safety
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–SAFE.