What Should I Do If I Have a Stalker?

The sudden appearance of unwanted texts and voice messages — or even the discovery that you are being periodically followed — can be quite alarming. Yet many victims fail to take proper steps to protect themselves. It doesn’t matter if stalking is perpetrated by an intimate partner or a total stranger — it can easily lead to sexual violence. Knowing how to respond could very well save your life.

Many victims of stalking often make one of two crucial mistakes: they either try to ignore the problem, or they attempt to confront their stalker directly. Both of these can have disastrous outcomes, resulting in acts of sexual violence or even murder.

So how should you respond if you have a stalker? You should avoid any direct contact with the stalker, while simultaneously taking steps to improve your personal security. This could involve upgrading locks or installing security cameras, or even making a conscious effort to not walk alone at night. This simple type of danger assessment can go a long way in keeping you safe.

While these steps are important, even more essential is informing others of the situation. Carefully document any messages you receive or property that is damaged by the stalker. Report vandalism and threats of sexual violence to the police, as well as trusted friends and family. Don’t be afraid to dial 911 if you think you’re in danger — the sooner you act, the more likely you are to avoid disaster.