It can be really scary when you start seeing a strange person everywhere you go. I have been stalked before, and let me tell you that it’s not easy to deal with such a situation. The police doesn’t take any action, unless someone breaks an entry or tries to cause you physical harm.
When I was in College, I would see a man everywhere I went, it was really scary at first. Soon, I thought I was being paranoid and I tried to push the feeling aside. I stopped thinking about it completely, until one of my best friends told me that she felt that someone was following me. I completely lost it; when she told me that all our friends saw him, only when I was around.
He somehow managed to get my number and started calling me at odd hours. I was really distressed; it scared the hell out of me. He insisted that he wanted to be my boyfriend. He started calling my father and my family members when I refused to talk to him. I was too afraid to tell my parents about what was going on.
He would call them and ask for random people. I thought that it would stop at that, but soon he started blackmailing me. He said he wanted to meet me; or he would call and tell my parents that, I was dating him without their consent, and that we were physical. He told me that, he loved me. He would call me so many times that I started getting paranoid and often had anxiety attacks. I started hiding my cell phone from my siblings and my parents. I would beg him to leave me be, I would cry endlessly but he felt no piety for me.
I finally couldn’t take it any more, so I told one of my friends. She told me that I should tell my parents. I talked to my father about it, he tried to file a report but the officers said they couldn’t do much about the situation, as the attacker had never tried to harm me physically, but they said he can file a restraining order. They told us to give them a call if anyone tried to set foot on our property or tried to inflect physical harm.
I felt very insecure and depressed. One day, I caught the man completely off guard at the super store, I shouted at him on the top of my voice. Most of my friends didn’t want to hang out with me anymore, and my grades were dropping fast, because I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. He stuttered, he didn’t say much, all he muttered was, ‘you’re pretty’ and then he left. I never saw him again, but to this day I have night mares and I am scared to go out alone. You have no idea how helpless a person in such a situation can be.
I made three huge mistakes, I talked to him. Talking to a stalker can aggravate their behavior. When you establish contact with your stalker, you end up supporting their motives, unintentionally. They are provoked by your interaction and tend to think that you are supportive of what they are doing.
It took me too long to tell my parents, I should have told them the day he called me. I should have let my parents deal with this man instead of taking matters into my own hands. My parents would have protected me with their life; they would have reported the man and warned him off.
Though, it scared the man away, I shouldn’t have approached the man myself. He could have stabbed me, he could have raped me and he could have taken revenge for the insult I caused him in public. He didn’t respect me or my privacy, nothing would have stopped him.
However, years after the ordeal, I found out that my stalker was an ex-friend's friend. She wanted to get back at me, for telling her parents about her drug addiction. She was ruining her life; I loved her and wanted her to be safe. She came over to my place one day, confessed and apologized for everything. She was very sorry, but I couldn’t bring myself to forgive her, I told her to leave.
Such situations should be dealt with great caution; a single mistake could have a disastrous outcome. Your stalker could be a harmless fan or a deranged fanatic. You shouldn’t wait for something serious to happen, before you take action. Nonetheless, you need to start adopting serious safety measures. Some precautions that you need to start taking are listed below.
Move in with someone or have someone move in with you
If you live alone, move in with a friend or invite someone to come live with you, for the time being. If your friend is a male, it would definitely discourage your stalker to pursue you. If your stalker is a woman, she might be intimidated by the presence of a man, too.
If you are unable to do so, ask your parents to come over or move in with them. If you live in a different city, and have no immediate friends, try to find a shared apartment. Your housemates will be all the security you need.
2. Try to remain in a crowd
Try to remain surrounded by friends and people. Your stalker might try to approach you, or harm you, when you are alone. Company will discourage any ill intentions. Remember, people will be your protective shield, whenever you are in distress. If you live in a remote area, call a few friends over and move out of there as soon as you can. Living in a crowded community will keep you out of harm's way.
3. Always travel with someone
Ask your friends to walk you to the door. Surrounding yourself by friends will give the stalker an impression that people are looking out for you. Never walk, hike or run alone. Avoid going to places like the shopping mall with out company. Ask someone to accompany you to the grocery store. Traveling alone while there is a stalker on the loose can be a huge mistake.
4. Always carry your phone with you and always keep your GPS on
Keep your GPS on, all the time and carry your cell phone with you. Try to travel in network friendly areas; you never know when you might have to make a distress call. Avoid putting a password on your mobile phone; people tend to forget them when they are distraught. Install a tracking application on your cell phone. Keep a text message saved in your drafts in case of an emergency. Don’t know about speed dial? Well it’s about time you should.
5. Install a good alarm system
Install a good alarm system, the kind of system with cameras and Wifi, which sends online reports to you, every hour. This will help you keep track of the time; the stalker visits your house. You can steer clear of confrontation and exposure by avoiding stepping outside during those hours. The alarm system will not only give you a sense of security, it will tip you off before hand if someone tries to step foot in your property. Apart from this, keep all the doors and windows locked at all times.
6. Try to keep evidence
Try to take pictures of the stalker and record their phone calls as a precautionary measure. You can show this evidence to the police; it will help facilitate your restraining order. Your service provider can provide you and the police, information about the stalkers ware bouts, they might even have a blocking option.
8. Be very careful while using social media
If you are being stalked, you should be very careful about what you put on social media, even if you have privacy on, your ID could be hacked for all you know. The stalker might be getting information from one of your friends’ accounts. Try not to check in to places, ask friends not to tag you in pictures, make sure all your personal information is private.
9. Tell all your family members and friends about whatever is going on
Don’t hide such a scary thing from family and friends; they have the right to know. They will protect you if things go wrong and trust me things could go horribly wrong. They might even give you some really good advice or share things they have been through and how they emotionally cooped with the situation. Get all the support you possibly can!
10. Hire a security guard
Hire a security guard for the time being, if you can afford one. Have him stay by your side at timings you see your stalker the most. A security guard will not only protect you from physical harm, his presence will make you feel at ease.
I know what it feels like to be exposed out in the open, you feel completely naked. The worst part is that you don’t know the motivation and true intention of your stalker. You just need to know that it is not your fault. The stalker definitely has a psychological issue, but you are not the one to be blamed for his irrational behavior. Having a guard with you could scare him off for good.
11. Warn your neighbours of a potential threat
Go on and tell your neighbours about what is going on, sharing the experience will only develop awareness. They, too, might be seeing the man in their surrounding. The can tell you if they see anyone snooping around your house. Some of them might even look out for you at night. If they hear anything unusual they will inform the police immediately.
12. If someone has a vehicle parked outside of your house, inform the police
If you have an unknown vehicle standing outside of your house, and you notice it there more than thrice, and the neighbours don’t seem to know about it, take pictures and write down its number and inform the police. Anyone who chases you around in a vehicle has no good objective.
13. Check the history of your stalker
If you have a name, try to find out if your stalker has a previous criminal history. He might have a history of domestic violence or battery, his name might be listed as a sex offender or he might be out on probation. If your stalker has no previous record, don’t let your guard down.
14. Confront your stalker via a police officer
Ask a police officer to talk to your stalker, the officer will tell the stalker about your rights and warn him, about the kind of penalty that might be imposed on him because of his abrupt behavior. Doing this will give the stalker an impression that you are well aware of your rights, and a wrong move could have him end up in jail. His confrontation with a member of the law enforcement might make him retreat.
Remember the points mentioned above are precautionary measures, there is a very good chance that you stalker will ward away, when he sees that you are well aware of your rights, and that you know how to stand up for yourself. Nonetheless, there might be other people who might not stop pursuing you for years.
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Have you been stalked before? How did you protect yourself? Let me know in the comments down below!