Stalking is a serious concern for people of all backgrounds, demographics, cultural backgrounds, and socio-economic classes. While the criminal ramifications vary from state to state, stalking generally is any behavior that causes a person to feel fear. Stalking is not always violent, but is always a serious issue and can escalate over time.
How do you know if you are being stalked?
A stalker may follow you around and show up wherever you are without invitation. This type of activity includes showing up at your home, school, or place of employment. Stalkers can also send unwanted gifts, letters, emails, or other items. But stalkers ultimately make you feel extremely nervous, harassed, or unsafe with their behavior by repeatedly contacting you or sending you items you do not want. If this behavior escalates, stalkers can cause damage to your home, car, or other property. Stalkers may even threaten you, your friends, family, or pets.
In today’s digital world, stalkers can even use modern day technology to harass you or send unwanted attention your way.
Cyberstalkers use technology to monitor your actions, post false accusations, send threats, commit identity theft, or continue to communicate with you. Cyberstalking can be defended against by using security software, changing privacy settings on social media websites, or to make sure you log off websites when you are done using them.
If you feel you are being stalked, there are a few basic things you can do to protect yourself.
First is to call 9-1-1 if you are in immediate danger. Do not attempt to contact your stalker, keep evidence of any threats or stalking behavior, contact police, and discuss the issue with a friend or family member. You can also contact local domestic violence, or national domestic violence hotline or local law enforcement agency. OneEighty 24-hour crisis hotline is 1-800-686-1122.