You should learn more about stalking behaviours to stop them before things could get worse. You can also take steps to safeguard yourself. If you think someone is harassing you, it can be dangerous and unsettling. Most abusers can reach out to their victims via technology, online, or in-person. Here’s your guide on what you should do in these cases.
How Is Stalking Defined?
The Department of Justice defines stalking as a pattern of unwanted and repeated contact, harassment, attention, or other behaviours directed at a specific individual. It can make the affected person fear for their life. In fact, stalking is still about maintaining power and gaining control over another individual.
Each state has its unique definitions and laws regarding stalking. You can read more at some trusted online resources such as criticalpath-solutions.com. In simpler terms, stalking can take different forms, including:
- Unwanted Physical or Visual Closeness: It includes watching someone from a distance, following someone, or waiting for someone to arrive at a specific place.
- Non-Consensual Communication: It may include repeated text messages, emails, or phone calls. It can also include sending a person unwanted gifts.
- Making Threats: Threatening someone, or their family and friends
- Other Behaviours: Other patterns of behaviours abusers use to threaten, track, harass, or contact someone.
What Constitutes Stalking?
You should remember that stalking refers to behaviours directed at individuals that make them fear for their safety. Most abusers may know their victims intimately, in the cases of a family member or former partner. Or not all, in the cases of a celebrity they’ve never met before. You should look out for the different behaviours that count as stalking:
- Threats: Other abusers can threaten to harm their victims if they’re not willing to interact with them. Making another individual feel harassed or unsafe or making threats constitutes stalking.
- Damage: In other cases, abusers can damage another person’s home, car, or other property. Other abusers damage their victim’s property to get their attention or put them in danger. If you’ve insisted on not talking to someone and their only response was damaging your property, that’s another stalking pattern.
- Indirect Communication: Your stalkers may discover that you’ve cut off their means of communicating with you. In this case, they can try to reach out to your family and friends through emails, texts, calls, or in-person contacts.
- Loitering: Loitering refers to the act of hanging around a specific area. You can still consider it stalking behavior if the abuser is doing it because you’re around the area. Your abusers don’t need to interact with you for it to be stalking. It’s pretty tricky to know the signs because an abuser can claim they have excuses for being near you even if they don’t.
- Monitoring and Following: You can also consider it stalking behavior if someone follows you from one area to another. It doesn’t matter where. It’s stalking if someone follows you to a friend’s house, home from work, or anywhere else.
- Emailing, Texting, or Calling: If you receive repeated emails, texts, or calls, that’s still stalking. More importantly, if you’ve expressed that you don’t want to talk to or interact with them. If they still keep reaching out, it’s stalking.
Can I Stop It Before Things Can Get Worse?
Everyone in the community has to work together to end this behavior. You can support early prevention and support efforts to increase safety. It can include:
- Building a safe environment within the community through policies or programs that reduce risk, promoting healthy connections.
- Empowering everyone to address, recognize, and understand stalking behaviors.
- Mobilizing everyone as allies in early prevention and support efforts.
How Can I Protect Myself?
You have the right to be worried if you think someone is following you. Here are a few tips you can follow to report the crime and increase your safety efficiently.
- Don’t interact with the person allegedly stalking you. It can be tricky at times, especially if they’re a family member or someone you’re related to.
- If the abusers use communication technology, make it clear that you want them to stop contacting you. Then, don’t further communicate.
- Keep any evidence you received from the abuser. It can include emails, packages, letters, voicemails, text messages, or more. Don’t respond. You can gather proof by printing or taking screenshots of the conversation.
- Inform other people of your current situation.
- Inform local law enforcement.
- Keep an accurate log or journal of all incidents connected with the incident.
You can find advocates everywhere, and the law will always side with you. Make sure to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or medical practitioner when you’re coping with the effects of stalking. You shouldn’t be ashamed of these incidents. Follow this simple guide to keeping yourself safe to learn how to cope with the impact.