Have you ever experienced getting uncomfortable feelings like clammy and shaking hands, because you received some unwanted odd mails, faxes, successive phone calls from somebody? Or do you feel like somebody is watching you wherever you are? Then you might be being stalked.
Primarily, stalking is a series of harassing or threatening behaviors that puts a person in fear for their safety. Stalkers use a wide variety of techniques to harass their targets. The obsessive and dogged nature of stalkers can seem almost inconceivable, until you realize that you yourself are on the receiving end of being stalked by somebody. Such harassment can be either physical stalking or cyber-stalking. Physical stalking is someone following, appearing at a person’s home or place of work, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing the victim’s property. And cyber-stalking involves using the internet or any electronic means to harass just to get the attention of the target, such as sending some obscene e-mails or leaving some abusive messages on message boards or guest books. Both types of stalking may or may not be accompanied by threats of possible harm. But both types can cause serious psychological detriment, and the worst thing is, it may lead to an assault or even murder.
Even a less severe form of stalking may still permanently affect the lives of the target as well as their families, friends and co-workers. Stalking is a relatively new form of crime but law enforcement is starting to become aware of it, and trying to understand on how to deal with this risk.
A research study conducted by The Advocates for Human Rights concludes that young adults are usually the main targets of stalking. Most stalkers are male, and a majority of those who are stalked are women. Although stalking of strangers does occur, in the vast majority of cases, the stalker and victim know each other. The stalker and victim are often current or former intimate partners. Women are frequently stalked by their former partners after they leave or attempt to leave their abuser. However, many men are also stalked.
As with any form of potential violence, there are some precautions that the target should observe in order to be more aware and safe. One of the most clear and direct boundary setting against the stalking is to break off any contact. Do not take his phone calls or – worse – talk to him in person. Stop throwing verbal abuse at him because even this still motivates the stalker to cling to or to be attached to you, because this way you send out signals to the stalker that you still care and are not over it yet. Thus, if you break the entire communication, the stalker will eventually give up. Secondly, let your family and closest friends know that you are being stalked. Give them any relevant information about the stalker, or if you have a picture of him, show it to them. It is helpful, too, to record or document all the phone calls and incidents. If possible, save his text messages on your phone as well as obscene or offensive e-mails. Keep all the objects or gifts that you received from the stalker. All of this can serve as evidence in any legal proceedings you may want to take, should this become necessary or desirable.
If you are being stalked and harassed, you cannot put your safety entirely in the hands of someone else, but it must be in yours. Victims must be aware and careful enough with regard to their own safety. It must be noted that stalkers can certainly be dangerous. Even if the stalker doesn’t have any criminal record, it does not mean that he is not dangerous. While past violence does indicate a strong possibility of future violence, on the other hand, every violent offender also has to have a first time. Therefore, consider every act of stalking as a serious threat and act accordingly.