Stalking is a very serious issue that happens more often than you would think. Each victim’s experience is different but the problem is still the same. Some cases are more dangerous than others, with the situation leading to attacks, sexual assault, or even killing the victim.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one single psychological or behavioral profile that could point out to us an individual that carries those dangerous and unsettling stalker tendencies. There’s also no definitive way to predict what a certain stalker will or won’t do to their victims. A stalker’s behavior can escalate from less life-threatening interactions such as phone calls or text messages to more physical contact such as delivering gifts or showing up to places that their victims are.
When it comes to victims of stalking, there is a very real struggle with how to respond to their stalkers. There are a few more common ways that victims seem to choose to handle the situation. Some victims attempt to reason with their stalkers to calm them in hopes that being kind to their attackers will encourage them to stop. There are many victims of this crime that tend to play down their frightening experiences by trying to convince themselves that their situation isn’t as bad as it truly is. Another commonly used tactic when it comes to responding to their perpetrators is to confront or threaten their stalker or even attempt to fight back against them, which can end very dangerously.
Denton County’s Friends of the Family is a great source for assistance as well as a place to offer helpful tips and resources to victims. Below is a list of 5 great tips for victims who are experiencing this harmful situation.
1. A great tip to remember when you find yourself in a stalker situation is to trust your instincts. Many victims of stalking situations often are encouraged by their friends or their family to downplay the behavior of their stalker or the situation as a whole. However, your safety needs to be the number one priority. If you feel any sort of real threat or harm, trustyour intuition.
2. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, the first thing that you should do is call the police. They are going to be your number one source of protection in these horrid situations. Take the time to explain the stalker’s actions and why they are causing you distress or fear.
3. Keeping a record of each interaction of any kind is a great tool to use when dealing with a stalker. There are examples and templates that you can find online to help you with this process. Make sure to include any police reports that are filed in your records.
4. It’s important to save all evidence of stalking when you can. A common form of contact with stalkers is by using technology. If you remember to save all of the emails, text messages, photos, and social media postings as evidence of your stalker’s behavior, it will benefit you in the long run tremendously. You may also look into ways to use your technology devices in a more protected way. A great source for this is the National Network to End Domestic Violence Safety Net Project’s Tech Safety Site.
5. Contacting a local victim service provider, such as Denton County’s Friends of the Family, is a vital part of safely escaping a stalker situation. These local helpful sources can aid you in exploring your options as well as discussing a plan of safety for you and everyone involved.
It’s important to note that as a victim of stalking, you can’t control your stalker’s behavior. However, you should also feel empowered and encouraged to take the necessary steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harm.