In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

OP-ED: On Stalking

When a person is drawn to another person, it’s only natural. But what about Stalking?

When this person starts showing more interest in the other than what is expected, it could be considered endearing.

But when the interest isn’t mutual, this is usually a standstill for the regular individual. When it’s not; then it might just be perseverance. But if it has reached a state where it’s making the opposite party feel uncomfortable- then that’s just not right.

That’s what stalking is– anyone who’s pursuing you in a manner that makes you uneasy. You might not know why exactly; maybe it’s because they’re relentless, maybe because they know too much about you, maybe it’s their demeanour or the way they carry themselves, or maybe because they’re trying to get more involved then you allow them, or saying things that are inappropriate or you find offensive. But the most important element to identify a stalker is this: it’s that they don’t get a hint! Or maybe even an obvious objection.

If a healthy person is turned down, they’ll get disappointed and might vent out in limits (if they have a temper by nature) but then they suck it up, face reality and move on- they do not cross boundaries set by the opposite person But a disturbed person or stalker doesn’t face reality, because they create their own version of how things should be. They do not respect boundaries because to them they are inconclusive.

If you’re dealing with someone similar- then you have yourself a stalker.

Stalking: So what do you do about it?

1- This stalker may or may not have entered the “insulting phase” which typically is that they try to dominate you as much as they can by causing you pain- provoking you. This is typically done through a series of calculated offences- swear words, demeaning language, verbal violation etc…

The main purpose of this is to incite you, which a lot of the times satisfies their fantasies. It is crucial in this stage NOT TO RESPOND, as tempting as it may be, this person is sick and probably demented; fuelling their anomaly is not the answer.

The only correct response is completely ignoring them until the right actions are taken; they’re trying to gain control over you, so show them they have no influence.

2- If their violation comes in the form of breach (trying to gain access when or where they shouldn’t) ex. Hacking one of your accounts (you wouldn’t know who did so but you’d have your suspicions, trying to blackmail you with something embarrassing, acquiring information that they shouldn’t have or crossing your personal space or boundaries. Then you have two courses of action, depending on their situation: a- if they seem harmless (and appearances are often deceiving) then you need to make it clear that this is not acceptable- till this point their idea of limits or boundaries might be unclear, and they could just be confused (try to determine if this is someone who needs serious help, or just someone who idolizes you, and is desperate to enter your world) Once they understand their limits and back off a little bit, you’ll be able to determine if they still need some sort of therapy or if it was just some sort of confusion.

B- If it has reached a state where this person imposes a threat to your well-being or security- then you need to report to the authorities without question. Let your instincts guide you, and do not hesitate.

3- Once again if this person threatens you in anyway, or proves to be a menace- THEN REPORT THEM RIGHT AWAY. The authorities will know how to handle the situation better then you will, they will determine if this person is a threat to others and the proper treatment they need; if you feel the urge to intervene or contact the perpetrator, then pass it by them first and if it is permitted, then make sure you do so in a controlled environment.

4- There are a ton of harassment and privacy laws to protect your security; ranging from restraining orders to incarceration – all you need to do is leave this in the hands of the law enforcement. Even if you already have enough on your plate, or if you’re anxious about how things will go; they have dealt with a lot of similar cases, and will make it easy for you.

Now we get to the aftermath of stalking…how to get you up and running after your ordeal with stalking…

Now at first I may seem a bit insensitive, but bear with me and I promise it gets better…

I have this quirk where whenever I come across a term that I want to contemplate; I find myself automatically opening the nearest dictionary. The first definition that hit me when looking up “stalking” was: quietly following an animal with the purpose of observing, catching or killing them. So that’s the origin of the word?  It was used to describe hunters or predators trailing their prey…

What strikes me as funny is that we automatically portray the subject of the “aggravation” as a victim. (Please give me the benefit of the doubt before getting wound up and thinking that I’m about to justify stalking or belittle the experiment)

To further explain; if you bring a child and repetitively tell them that they’re bald, would you expect them to brush their hair?

And that’s exactly what society does, by constantly portraying the stalk subject as a victim; they are in fact trapping them in the exact notion- that they are defenceless and weak- when in fact the person who tries to validate themselves at the expense of others; that’s the weak one.

So what you need to work on is this: to quit seeing yourself as a victim, and start recovering…moving forward.

You already know that they’re the one with the problem; then what’s holding you back?

I will not undermine your experiment, for all I know it might have been horrific and I might not have been able to recover from it- but do you honestly want this person to have that much power over you?

If this has had an impact on you, then you’ll need your time to recover and no one can deny you that; but at some point you need to stop thinking about what has happened and concentrate on what’s to come. Don’t let them extend their intrusion on your life any more then they have- don’t give them the satisfaction by simply demonstrating that you’re stronger, and that you can go on with your life regularly despite of them.

So take some time-then get up, get better and get going with your life- and yes, act as if it never happened, soon enough you’ll start believing it. Learn more on Stalking now!

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