So today I wanted to talk about stalkers—a topic that I think applies to both men and women. Stalking is, by law, a form of harassment. The legal definition is that it is the act of repeatedly making contact with an individual that isn’t wanted or reciprocated. Signs of stalking involve being followed frequently, constant messages, constant phone calls (if unwanted), or even frequent gifts. Stalking can come in several different forms, but is usually thought of as in-person. However, cyber-stalking has become incredibly popular in recent years due to accelerated activity on the internet. Here are a few things that you can do to help deal with a stalker.
1. Save messages
If a stalker is continuously making unwanted contact with you, it's a good idea to keep record of that. The easiest way to do this is to save any phone messages or emails that the stalker sends to you, even if you might be tempted to delete them. Also, any time that your stalker makes personal contact with you, write down exactly when and where it happened. Try to find someone in the area who may have seen it, and write down their name and contact information. This may seem a little excessive, and it may not always be needed, but it will absolutely be necessary if you wish to take any legal action down the road.
2. Change numbers and email
If you do keep receiving unwanted messages and emails, it might be a good idea to change your phone number or email address (obviously after you have saved these messages, as stated before). This will hopefully keep the stalker at bay for a while, and maybe even deter them entirely, especially if they are a cyber stalker. However, there is a great possibility that they will continue to look, and so you should keep that information very safe from this point onward.
3. Never make contact
Many stalkers thrive off of the idea that there is some sort of relationship between you and them, even if it is only an imaginary one. Because of this, any sort of contact with a stalker, even if it is angry and aggressive contact, will validate this fake relationship in their minds. It can easily have an adverse effect of goading them even more into this fantasy that they’ve constructed, and even work to deepen it, as they may believe you are not saying what you mean, or speaking in codes. On top of all of that, this action can put you in danger, which should be avoided at all costs. The only contact that should ever be made, depending on the situation, is the threat of law enforcement, but try to be calm about it.
4. Keep your home secure
While a stalker is stalking you, your home will be an inevitably fascinating place to them. For this reason, you should go to great lengths to keep your household secure. Whether you are leaving or staying in, your doors should always remained locked with a sturdy deadbolt. Also keep an eye out for any other ways that a stalker might get in, such as windows or the garage. Try to remember where you left things whenever you leave and come back, so that you can see if anything has been moved. Additionally, run scans on your computer to see if any information is being monitored remotely. It is also a good idea to talk to your mailman and try to make sure none of your mail is tampered with.
5. Keep armed, if necessary
It’s important to note that not all stalkers are violent, and you may very well not be in any physical danger. However, you can’t be too careful when it comes to your safety, so you should be prepared for the worst. Traveling with friends while out and about is a good idea, but you should also have something prepared for when you are alone. Pepper spray, brass knuckles, or even a knife are all reasonable options that you should look into for self-defense.
6. File a restraining order
If, after the stalker has been persistent, you have legal grounds to file for a restraining order, you should absolutely do it. In this case, that evidence that you should have acquired earlier will definitely come in handy. After receiving a restraining order, any contact by the stalker can result in their arrest. There are many legalities surrounding a restraining order. For more information about them, check out this article here.