ARE YOU BEING STALKED?
Stalkers are controlling, obsessive offenders that employ a wide variety of tactics to connect to and control their victims. Like domestic violence, stalking consists of a pattern of behaviors that causes fear and harm. It can be subtle and seem harmless. It can also be blatant and intentionally threatening. Either way, stalking has the potential to alter a person’s life in very distressing and damaging ways.
When a stranger stalks, it is usually perceived as an immediate threat. It is, often, not considered so when the offender is known to the victim. This is because the victim already, willingly, allowed access for a time. Stalking is defined by the behavior of the stalker, regardless of the nature of the relationship.
Are you being stalked? The following are based on actual experiences by stalking victims:
- Have you tried to sever ties with someone who refuses to honor your request?
- Is someone calling you repeatedly, even when you have asked them to stop?
- Does this person show up at places you frequent, more than coincidentally?
- Does this person follow you to or wait outside/near your home or place of employment?
- Does this person repeat conversations that you have had with other people in confidence?
- Does this person befriend people you know just to maintain a connection to you?
- Has this person contacted your former partners in order to obtain private or derogatory information about you?
- Has this person filed a vexatious/abusive lawsuit against you?
- Does this person threaten you, threaten suicide or threaten those closest to you in an attempt to maintain contact with you?
- Are you receiving unwanted gifts or mail?
- Are you receiving obscene or threatening calls?
- Are you receiving obscene or offensive mail/items at your home or place of employment?
- Have your family/friends/employer received defamatory or damaging information about you?
- Are you not receiving mail that you are expecting?
- Is the mail you send out not being received by those you send it to?
- Are your utilities/services being shut off or cancelled by someone pretending to be you?
- Is your home or property being vandalized?
- Have you been falsely reported to child services or the police?
- Do you have reason to believe that your email and internet accounts have been accessed by someone else?
- Do you have reason to believe your calls are being monitored?
- Was your personal information and/or photo posted in public or online without your consent?
- Have your pets been threatened or harmed?
- Have you found dead animals on your property, in your mail or packages sent to your home?
- Does this person’s contact and pursuit of you cause you to fear for your safety?
Stalking is a crime and should be taken seriously. If you are being stalked, some of the above scenarios may seem very familiar to you. Speak to a victim advocate who can help assess your situation and advise you on a course of action. Contact a coalition in your state or any of these organizations that may apply to your situation:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
You can also find more information about stalking at: