In the age of the millennial’s, stalking is considered a dialect for fun sake. We find teenagers saying “Didn’t mean to stalk you, but I saw you went to Vegas for the weekend,” or “I have been Insta stalking you to keep an eye on your activities, LOL.” In reality, stalking is a very serious and traumatic experience that one goes through. As scary and illegal as it is, being stalked is also a very underrated and one of the most unreported crimes globally.
This may be because of the stigma that comes with getting stalked or the investigation that ensues once it has been reported. People try to shy away from coming forward to report stalking and more often than not, it results in a catastrophic outcome.
Why? The stalker gets encouragement and becomes bold because you are not defying it but making a living in that fear a way of life for yourself.
Stalking affects women more than men as statistically shown. Women have a majority of 76% crimes against them as compared to men. Reporting comes much later.
Are you being stalked? First, you must identify that you are being stalked and start certain actionable activities by yourself rather than live under threat.
Identifying the Signs That You are Being Stalked
First, let us break the myth that stalkers have the simple character sketch of being jealous or harboring a romantic interest in you. Most stalkers feel the urge to invade your privacy to satisfy their need to control another person, be it their day to day routine or their emotions. They go through a myriad of emotions to become possessive and obsessed with you that their life becomes only about you – a kind of fixation or focus.
Another point to remember is that stalkers are not always random people. They may be people from your past and present, friends and family, colleagues or acquaintances. Be careful in analyzing behaviors which tend to deviate from the usual.
It can be persistent behaviors like finding reasons to talk to you or invite you, keeping track of your daily activities or travel plans. If you observe that this behavior persists even after you have communicated with them not to, they have continued to cause inconvenience and make you uncomfortable; you can be assured you have a stalker.
How do you Handle This Situation of Getting Stalked?
What to Do If You Are Getting Followed? Identifying is one thing, but dealing with it is another. It is not just about dealing but dealing with it with utmost caution is vital.
Ensure You Send a Clear Message to the Stalker
Once you are convinced that you have identified the person who could be stalking you, it’s time for that confrontation. This is an essential step toward shutting this behavior down.
When you do confront the person in question, do not portray any emotion like being angry, hurt, fearful or sad. Do not yell and physically hurt them and keep your feelings in check.
Tell them in a stern tone which speaks of finality to leave you alone. Be clear and unambiguous and do not engage in any conversation how much ever they try to spin a dialogue with you.
Always do this in the presence of a witness or a group of people. Do not venture to seek out your stalker and meet him/her alone as it may not necessarily be the safest thing to do.
Always Keep the Proofs of Being Followed for Reference
Stalkers very rarely leave evidence of their presence or document their intentions. It is still not impossible to prove. However small or big any activity or incidence may have been, like a phone call, text message, email message or face to face interaction. Ensure you note the date and time and take photos.
If you have witnesses, nothing better. In the said manner you will be able to have some evidence to show the authorities if the situation escalates and you have to lodge a formal complaint of harassment or file for a restraining order.
It is highly advised that you contact the police as soon you feel uncomfortable that this person may have a chance of becoming a threat to you and your family. It is better to address the problem before rather than in retrospect.
Live in Reality, Not on Social Media
In today’s world, we have two lives: one is the life that we want the internet to approve off, and the second, the one we live.
These two lives may be the same or may be completely different from each other, considering the way you portray them. In both cases, they are not private the minute you decide to post them to the rest of the world.
Eating, traveling, working and even family time has become a show time that you want to let the whole world know. People check in their travel schedules; they check in to restaurants, etc. The worst of them all is tagging your location and posting it as home!!
Due to this, tracking your movements becomes a piece of cake to anyone who is paying even a little attention. Curb your hunger to post your whereabouts. Be a private person. It will not only shut your stalker out but will also ensure that more don’t crop up to stalk you.
Stalkers feed on your predictability. That is how they gain insight into what happens in your social and daily life. You may have a set pattern of going to work, stopping for coffee or a bagel, walking a certain distance before you reach office. Weekends you have a laundry schedule or a BFFs place that you go to at that time in the day.
All these may seem normal activities, but to a stalker, they are an opportunity to gain more control. The fact that he knows your schedule makes him/her believe they know you and hence crave more control.
Break your routine. Do the unpredictable. Don’t be in a place you are usually at.
When you know you are being stalked by a stalker – Intervention should be your best friend. Intervene in your life and ensure its full safety. Stay stalker free to stay safe!