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Get The Facts...
What is stalking?
You are being stalked 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. While the actual legal definition varies from one state to another, here are some examples of what stalkers may do: call or text you repeatedly, harass you on social media, show up at your residence, school, or workplace, follows you, watches (or has someone else watch) you.
What if I'm 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 young adults 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.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and report everything that’s happened to the police. Get additional support by obtaining a protection order that makes it illegal for the stalker to come near. Know that the person harassing you may also get arrested and convicted in the criminal justice system.
- Text messages
- Letters, photos and cards
- Unwanted items or gifts
- Social media friend requests
*You should also write down the times, places and dates all incidents occurred. Include the names and contact information of people who witnessed what happened.
Stalking is traumatic. You may experience nightmares, loss of 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 plan.
THINGS YOU CAN DO IF YOU ARE BEING STALKED
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 you can take steps to increase your safety.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Trust your instincts. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.
Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship.
Contact a crisis hotline, victim services agency, or a domestic violence or rape crisis program. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, refer you to other services, and weigh options such as seeking a protection order.
Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you.
To learn more about stalking,
visit the Stalking Resource
Center Web site
Information from: victimsofcrime.org and loveisrespect.org