The unwanted pursuit of one person by another. When a person repeatedly watches, follows or harasses you, making you feel afraid or unsafe. A stalker can be someone you know, a past boyfriend or girlfriend or a stranger.
Common Stalking Behaviors
- Showing up at your home or place of work unannounced or uninvited.
- Sending you unwanted text messages, letters, emails and voicemails.
- Leaving unwanted items, example: gifts or flowers.
- Constantly calling you and hanging up.
- Using social media sites /secret apps to track you.
- Spreading rumors about you via the internet or word of mouth.
- Making unwanted phone calls to you.
- Calling your family, friends, employer, or professors asking about you.
- Waiting at places you hang out.
- Using other people as resources to investigate your life. For example, looking at your facebook page through someone else’s page or befriending your friends in order to get more information about you.
- Damaging your home, car or other property.
What to do if you’re being Stalked
If you’re being stalked, you may be feeling stressed, vulnerable or anxious. You may also have trouble sleeping or concentrating at work or school. Remember, you are not alone. Every year in the United States, 3.4 million people are stalked and youth between the ages of 18-24 experience the highest rates. Most people assume that stalkers are strangers, but actually three in four victims are harassed by someone they know. Stalking is traumatic. You may experience nightmares, lose sleep, get depressed or feel like you’re no longer in control of your life. These reactions are normal. It can help to tell your friends and family about the stalking and develop a safety planning.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and report everything that’s happened to the police.
Questions about forming a safety plan call us today at 941-627-6000 or 941-475-6465. Text: 941-499-8534
Things to remember
Save important evidence such as:
- Text messages
- Social Media messages, posts, friend requests (screenshot messages on apps that disappear)
- Letters, photos and cards
- Unwanted items or gifts
- Write down the times, places and dates all incidents occurred. Include the names and contact information of people who witnessed what happened.
When someone uses social media, email, blogs and other forms of electronic communication to repeatedly threaten and harass someone else.
Cyberstalking is similar to physical stalking in that…
- The person being stalked usually knows their stalker.
- The stalkers motivation is to exert power and control over the victim.
- Cyberstalking can lead to physical violence.
- Victims suffer psychological trauma, often resulting in anxiety, depression, insomnia and even loss of employment.
Cyberstalking is different from physical stalking in that…
- The stalker and victim can be located in different geographic areas (cities, states, countries, etc.).
- The stalker relies on the internet to harass and threaten.
- The stalker can easily encourage other users to harass the victim by pretending to be a victim themselves.
- The lack of direct contact can sometimes make it difficult to arrest the offender.
If you are being Cyberstalked…
- If you are under 18, immediately talk to a parent, guardian or an adult you can trust. You may be in physical danger
- Most social sites have filtering capabilities, so block the user.
- Report the person on the site you are using for harassment.
- Keep a log of all the communications you had with the stalker. Do not alter them in anyway; they could be used as evidence.
- Make it clear to the stalker that you do not want them to contact you again in any way.
- If the harassment does not stop, call 911 and contact your local police department and inform them of the situation.
Tips to prevent cyberstalking…
- Use safe sites that have an anti-harassment policy.
- Never give out your personal information.
- When online, only say things you would say to a person face to face.
- When typing things online, consider the interpretation of it without the use of sound and body language.
- Be very cautious about meeting an online acquaintance in person.
- If you are being harassed by someone, block them immediately.