Are you being stalked? Here’s the signs to watch out for & what you should do about it
It’s NOT your fault
There's that guy you went out with a few weeks ago and you've been seeing him around a lot. It's gotten to the point where you're uncomfortable, but don't know if it's all in your head or something more sinister is going on. Stalking is against the law in all 50 states so it's a completely serious matter. Here's the signs of stalking and what you should do about it.
What actually is stalking?
According to the Stalking Resource Center, stalking is "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear."
What are the signs?
If you have noticed a "pattern of behavior you feel nervous, harassed, or in danger," then that's stalking. You might have noticed this person showing up to locations you frequently go like class, your job, or even where you live. Have you gotten a ton of texts, phone calls, or DMs on social media?
You have been receiving gifts or on the opposite end of things, noticed something has been stolen from you. Essentially, if you've been getting unwanted form of contact or just seen this person repeatedly.
The four types of stalkers
Psychologist Kris Mohandie broke down the four different kinds of stalkers for CBS News. The public figure stalker has no "prior relationship with their victim." Basically it's when a celebrity, like ESPN's Erin Andrews, has a stalker. Then there's the private stranger stalker. This person comes across their victim and makes them a target.
An acquaintance stalker would be someone you've known through class or work. The most dangerous form of stalker is the initmate stalker. This is someone you've dated or had a relationship with.
What should you do?
First up, don't think it's all in your head. Trust your instincts and if it feels like there's something wrong, then it probably is. Don't keep your worries to yourself. Tell people you trust that you have concerns so that you're not traveling places by yourself. Ask a friend if you can stay at their place if you're afraid to go back to your's. It should be somewhere your stalker hasn't been/doesn't know about.
Try to limit or control your social media presense so people can't see where you currently are. Change up your routine if you can. If there's places you've got to be like class or work, alter your commute so you're not taking the same route everyday.
If you were communicating with your stalker, stop. Document and record any messages, voicemails, or gifts you receive. Report what's happening to your to campus secruity and/or the police. Show them the evidence that you have so far. Always keep a cellphone on you so you can get in touch with emergency services if you feel like you're in danger.
If you or someone you know is being stalked and you're afraid that could become violent, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
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