Updated: May 19, 2022
5 first key responses for those who believe they are being victimized by a stalker
Like most crimes, the most crucial time get proactive is immediately. All too often I am approached by victims who waited months, if not years before deciding to take action after being targeted for stalking and/or harassment. As a result, by the time they are ready to fight back or employ others to act on their behalf, they and those helping them are set up for an even more uphill battle ahead. Additionally, they are usually further weighed down emotionally by more than just their attacker, this includes an often apathetic local law enforcement agency, friends and co-workers who fail to fully grasp the impact stalkers can have on a person, and even spouses and significant others who begin to feel you are becoming "obsessed" and/or just seeking attention. All of these things can further discourage one from taking pro-active steps to fight back as they begin to feel more powerless and isolated from life as they once knew it as well as the bonds with others they once built their social and emotional stability upon...just as their stalker hoped to achieve.
Below are 5 key things you need to do in response to a stalking campaign to give you the best chance of stopping the damage and the one behind it as quickly as possible.
Tip #1 - Deny them permission
Don't write it off as something that will just go away. You cannot ignore a stalker away. While going out of your way to engage your stalker is not advisable as more often than not it will only encourage them to continue, saying and doing nothing to make clear that you will not accept or tolerate their actions is even worse as they will not only continue but also more likely escalate their attack.
Tip #2 - Keep your message short...and not so sweet
If contact with them does occur do NOT beg for them to stop, they won't. Do NOT try to reason with them as obsessed individuals are anything but reasonable. Do NOT mock or ridicule them as that may only cause them to act violently towards you or a loved one. DO let them know right away that you want no further contact with them and that you will not be intimidated nor will you be passive. Make it clear that you will not hold back in making sure they are stopped and held fully accountable for their actions.
Tip #3 - Be open to those close to you
Don't put up a front nor wait until you are emotionally drained by your stalker. Let your family or loved ones know that you are concerned or scared and need all the support you can get. Remember your stalker wants you to feel AND ultimately, BE isolated. It is one of the main ways they begin to exert control over your life and mind. Don't give them that opening.
Tip #4 - Mind your online presence
More often than not your stalker is monitoring you and researching you and various aspects of your life via social media. - Control who can see you posts and photos on your various profiles. - Control who can see your connections and monitor who is tagging you. - Control who can see any live updates or cheek-ins (even then be cautious). - Control who can tag you in their profiles and check-ins. - Control what you say online about your stalking. Better to share and discuss offline.
Tip #5 - Document, Document, Document
Sadly with cases like stalking, local law enforcement often lack the training to understand let alone properly investigate stalking crime and prosecutors can only prosecute on the evidence provided. So more often than not you will have to all but do their job for them. Build your timeline RIGHT AWAY. Use an excel or google spreadsheet and document dates, times of any actions or interactions related to your stalking. Also include links, screenshots, photos/video,etc. This will go a long way in helping gain a restraining order, prosecuting your stalker and if you choose, win a civil judgment for damages.
Tip of the Iceberg
Stalking is of course a very nuanced and complex crime to say the least and there are many more things to consider and do in order to take your stalker down and take your life back. However the above are key to help you gain and maintain the stamina, patience and resolve needed to get through what will most likely not be a quick process. Future weekly articles will be published to help you with the many other aspects of a stalking campaign and how you can fight back.