Monday, July 25, 2011
Putting a Stop to Stalkers
Has someone or a group of people been giving you unwanted obsessive attention? Stalking is persistent harassment that can include phone calls, emails, coming to your home or place of business, or following you throughout the day. Stalkers can be strangers or persons known to you such as former dating partners. Stalkers can make your life very difficult and at times can pose a danger to your life. Whether the person stalking you is using the internet or personal contact, it is important for you to take it seriously. Here are some key strategies to help you reclaim your safety and privacy.
1. Communicate clearly that you would like the contact to stop and that a relationship is not wanted now or in the future. Say this without apology and without high emotion. Do not try to let the person down easy by offering explanations. This may be interpreted as a mixed message or as interest on your part.
2. Keep a record of all communication made by the stalker. Take pictures of any damage done by the stalker.
3. Do not ignore any threats. Contact the police and consider obtaining an order of protection. File police reports for any illegal behavior perpetrated by the stalker.
4. Limit the circulation of your personal contact information by having these details removed from all public records. Use a business contact or Post Office Box for correspondence instead. Use an un-listed phone number.
5. If you have children, communicate clearly to them a safety plan and make sure their school has the appropriate information regarding who has permission to interact with your child.
6. Use dead bolt locks and if you lose your keys change your locks immediately.
7. Park and walk in well-lit areas. Be sure to carry a charged cell phone with you.
8. Inform friends, co-workers, and security persons at your business and residence so they can be mindful of the safety concerns. Have a good support system that you can trust and be sure to let them know where you are going and when you should return. This will make sure the right people are aware as soon as possible if you are in danger.
9. Do not argue with, negotiate with, or engage in discussion with the stalker. This engagement simply rewards the stalker and encourages them to continue making contact. Do not respond to instant messages, texts, or other communication.
10. Vary your routine. If you always use the same route or you tweet your location throughout the day, you are much more vulnerable to stalkers. There is more safety in adding variety to your day.
It is important for you to not to isolate yourself. You don’t have to handle it alone. There is strength and safety and letting trusted people know that you are harassed so they can help you with emotional and physical support. Remember harassment is not acceptable or excusable. Your safety and peace of mind deserve to be protected.