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 a dangerous crime that affects an estimated 6.6 million women and men each year.
defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear—is
a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the federal government.
As many as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime
and most often the stalker is someone the victim knows—an acquaintance, a relative, or a current or former intimate
- 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
What To Do If You Are Being Stalked
1. Trust your instincts.
Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s
behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. Your safety is paramount.
2. Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger.
Explain why even some actions that seem
you a gift—are causing you fear.
3. Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker.
Be sure to also document any police reports.
4. Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims.
Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on
social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
5. Get connected with a local victim advocate to talk through your options and discuss safety planning.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–SAFE.
For More Information
National Stalking Awareness Month
Stalking Resource Center
You should never have to live your life in fear. If you or someone you know is dealing with this type of situation, do something about it. Do not assume that it will get better or just go away on its own.