It is difficult to place labels on behaviors as “abusive,” however; this is helpful when you need to be kept safe. It is important to learn the signs of abuse, such as learning about stalking for example, so you are able to recognize them when they become apparent to you. As soon as you see these signs and know the proper tips, you will be better armed with how to react and who to go to for help.
About Stalking: What is this?
When a person is talking about stalking, they are referring to a specific behavior where repeated harassment or threats have been directed toward one other person. There are some cases where stalkers are strangers. However, under most circumstances, the stalker knows their victim. The stalker is most often a family member, an ex-partner, or someone who was a former acquaintance.
Each year, there is an estimated 3.4 million citizens within the United States who become victims of stalkers. The good news is that every state in the country has laws against this behavior. These laws vary from state to state, though. The general consensus is that a stalker is someone who conducts contact that is unwanted between the victim and his or her victim through direct or indirect communications or threat whereby the victim is placed into a position of fear.
How to Tell if You’re Being Stalked:
- Is someone repeatedly spying on or following you?
- Does someone repeatedly call you at work or at your home?
- Are you repeatedly receiving emails, faxes, or letters that are unwanted at work or home?
- Do you constantly receive unwanted gifts at home or work?
- Does your home or your personal property get vandalized?
- Has someone close to you been threatened?
- Have you been threatened?
- Does this person constantly show up wherever you are for no legitimate reason?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then there is a chance you are being victimized by a stalker. These situations are not limited to celebrities or other famous people who are stalked by strangers. This crime can happen to anyone, and most of the time the victims have already had some kind of relationship with their stalkers in the past. It is understandable that being a victim of stalking is terrifying. It is also understandable that stalking could cause disturbances and other problems with relationships with family, friends, and people you work with. It is common to feel like there is nowhere to turn and that you are afraid for your life.
What to Do About Stalking:
If you believe you are being stalked, it is okay to feel vulnerable, stressed, or anxious. Make sure you talk to someone you trust about these feelings so you are not experiencing any of this alone. If not, you may begin having issues sleeping or attending school or work. The last thing you want to feel is that you are alone, because you are not. If you believe immediate danger may occur, the best thing to do is call 911 to file a police report immediately. Following this, it is important to file a protection from abuse order to prevent the stalker from coming near you or contacting you. If the stalker violates this order, criminal charges will be filed against them. You may need to collect certain pieces of evidence in order to file the order such as:
- Email messages
- Frequent text messages
- Friend requests or “follows” through social media.
- Letters, cards, or photographs sent through the mail or that were left for you to find.
- Voicemail messages
- Unwanted gifts or other items left for you to find
About Stalking: Final Thoughts
If these behaviors occur and you believe you are the victim of stalking, do not ignore what is going on. Unlike bullying, the stalker may not grow tired of this behavior and give up. In some situations, the stalker will continue until they receive the desired response. This could lead to dangerous behavior. This is especially true if the victim feels tempted to respond to the stalker in an attempt to get them to back off. This engagement in communication could inadvertently egg them on to continue stalking more aggressively. The best solution is to not communicate with the stalker at all, speak with someone you trust about the situation for support, get in touch with the authorities, and let them handle the situation.