What Do I Do If I’m Being Stalked?
While no one thinks they’ll ever become a victim of stalking, it’s more likely to happen than you suspect. According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, approximately 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 13 men in the United States will be a victim of stalking at least once during their lifetime. If you believe you are being stalked, it is natural to feel fear, isolation, and even weakness – but it is important to remember that you are not alone. If you fear for your safety or suspect that you are being followed, do not hesitate to call 911.
- If you are being stalked, it is not uncommon to feel unsafe even in the comfort of your own home. Turn to the people you trust the most, such as close friends, family, and co-workers. Let them know about your situation. Not only will this help to alleviate any feelings of anxiety or unease, but they can also watch for any suspicious activity in your area and alert you if necessary.
- If your friends are active on social media, ask them to keep information about your whereabouts, including posting photos, tagging your location, or even just hinting at what you may be doing during the weekend, off all social media sites. You may want to limit your own social media usage at this time as well.
- Do you tend to take the same route to work every day? Do you take lunch at the same time daily, at the same restaurant? It’s important to vary your routine so that the perpetrator cannot easily keep track of you. When walking in public, be sure that you’re alert at all times. If you get home after dark, ask a friend or family member to make sure you arrive safely.
- Once you are home, be sure to keep all doors and windows locked. Do not hide a spare key anywhere on your property. It may provide you with extra peace of mind if you invest in an alarm system, especially a security camera, for the property. If you live in an apartment complex, consider telling management about the issue and they may be able to provide a security patrol to keep an eye on the area.
- Consider devising a plan if you feel you are in danger. Share this plan with only close friends or family. Pack an emergency bag with essentials and create an escape route so you can contact the appropriate authorities once you feel you are out of harm’s way.
- If the stalker attempts to communicate with you through text, email, phone call, or even physically approach you, do not respond in any way. If you can, keep evidence of their efforts to speak with you so you can present it to the authorities.
- Stalking is a crime. If you continue to feel unsafe in your daily life, or if your stalker continues to press forward with their actions, contact the police immediately. They can open a report for you, advise you on safety measures, and depending on the severity of the situation, may be able to station a police officer outside your home.
- Do you know the identity of your stalker? If so, you may be able to speak with law enforcement about potential legal actions you can take, such as filing an order of protection (restraining order) against your pursuer.