Stalking

 

You may have just ended a relationship or you may still be in a relationship. You may have only just met. But now you’re seeing him everywhere you go. She may be calling you and hanging up, sitting outside your house, showing up at the store or theater at the same time you do. You may be tempted to pass it off as no big deal, but stalking is a serious crime. 

 

What is stalking?  

 

According to Nebraska law: any person who willfully harasses another person with the intent to injure, terrify, threaten, or intimidate commits the offense of stalking. Stalkers use a variety of ways to intimidate and harass their victims, including:

  • Phone, texting

  • Watching you constantly, day and night

  • Following you

  • Sending unwanted e-mails, texts, or letters

  • Sending unwanted gifts

  • Damaging property

  • Threatening to harm you or your family and friends

  • Lying about you and spreading rumors that aren't true

  • "Rescuing" or "saving" you from things you don't need saving from:

    • "Saving" you from a new love interest

    • "Rescuing" you from a situation that wasn't dangerous. 

  • Threatening to commit suicide if you don't agree to a relationship

  • Physical aggression

    • Blocking your path

    • Threatening you with physical violence 

  • Physical violence

  • Sexual violence


You can click here to find a checklist of stalking behaviors that you can use to determine the severity of your situation. Remember, the checklist is only a guide and it can only give you a general idea of the dangerousness of your situation. We urge you to contact law enforcement and talk with an advocate. You can call The DOVES Program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with someone. 1-866-95-DOVES (36837)

 

What can I do?

 

Think about your safety. Some things to consider:

  • Document everything that happens. You can use our stalking log or you can keep a notebook to record:

    • Dates and times of contact by your stalker.

    • Name and contact information of witnesses to the stalking.

    • Dates, times, badge number of the officer you spoke with if you reported the incident to law enforcement.

    • Identifying information:

      • License plate number or make and model of your stalker's vehicle. 

      • Appearance of stalker.

        • Beards, tattoos, scars. 

    • Record phone calls you receive from the stalker.

      • Note the date and time on your log or in your notebook.

      • Indicate if you reported the incident to the police.

      • It may be helpful to write what you were feeling at the time for future use in a protection or harassment order.

    • Keep copies of texts and emails from the stalker, even if they don't seem threatening. Stalking is a pattern of behaviors and having evidence of repeated emails can be part of the case you're building against your stalker.

  • Consider using a post office box, especially if you have moved to get away from your stalker. Use the PO box for all mail and only allow trusted family and friends to know your physical address.

  • Have packages delivered to a friend or family member's house. 

  • Ask local law enforcement if they will do a security check on your home. They can point out potential hazards such as places your stalker might hide or gain access to your home.

  • Keep a cell phone with you at all times so you can call for help if you need it.

    • Cell phones without service contracts can still be used to call 911.

  • Call your utility and phone companies to request that your account be password protected. 

    • Electricity

    • Gas

    • Credit cards

    • Phone provider

    • Cable company

    • Etc ...

  • Change your privacy settings on social media sites so only your friends can see your personal information. For added security, block everyone--including your friends--from seeing your address, location, and other contact information.

  • Vary your routines.

  • Take a copy of your stalker's picture to your children's school or daycare. 

  • Consider the safety of your family, friends, and coworkers. Work with them on a safety plan.

  • Think about the safety of your pets. 9% of stalkers threaten to harm or actually harm pets. 

  • Ask for an escort to and from your car at work or when shopping.

  • Give people a picture of your stalker if you have one. Request that they notify you if they see them lurking around.

  • Don't throw anything away in the trash that has personal information on it unless you shred it first.

 

Why should I take stalking seriously?

 

More than 3 in 4 women murdered by an intimate partner had been stalked by that partner before the murder. Statistics show that women who have been in an abusive relationship are also more likely to be stalked by their partner/ex-partner.  As with domestic violence, stalking is about power and control. The stalker doesn’t want a normal relationship and he doesn’t want to take no for an answer.

64% of men are stalked every year in the United States. Many times female stalkers aren’t taken seriously or their behaviors are considered normal female insecurity or jealousy. Some men might brush off the stalking because they aren’t physically afraid of their female stalkers. It’s important to understand that stalking isn’t cute or funny; someone who thinks it’s okay to watch your every move doesn’t have a firm grasp on reality, doesn’t have boundaries, and lacks empathy for how her victim feels.

 

Many victims have reported being stalked over a period of months or even years. This type of long term assault can cause you to feel hopeless and helpless, especially if you are having a hard time getting people to believe you about the stalking. That’s why it’s so important to continue to document each incident as it occurs and to ask for help when you need it. This might involve talking to your friends and family, going to a counselor, reporting the stalking to law enforcement, and/or calling our program to talk about what’s happening to you.

 

Remember, what’s happening to you isn’t your fault. You didn’t trigger the stalking based on your behavior and you didn’t ask for your stalker to harass you. It’s important that you understand that a stalker can’t be reasoned with, he doesn’t want to consider your feelings and emotions, and she doesn’t feel concerned or embarrassed about her behavior. In stalkers’ minds, they are entitled to watch you every minute of every hour of every day. 
 

How can I avoid being stalked?

 

You can’t fully protect yourself from being stalked. Stalking is a choice by the perpetrator and you don’t have any control over what the stalker does or doesn’t do. There are some things you can do that might help, however:

  • Get comfortable with saying no. Women especially seem to have a hard time saying no. Don't feel you have to qualify your no in order to let some down easy. Being nice can create a potentially dangerous situation. Your, "Well, I'm already seeing someone else, but thank you," can be heard by a stalker as, "If I weren't going with someone else, I'd totally date you."

  • If someone starts calling you fifty times a day, especially after you've told them no, don't have any more contact with them. If they call all day and you finally answer the phone that night to ask them to stop calling you, they will learn that it might take all day but you will answer the phone.

  • Listen to your inner feelings. If something is bugging you, if a situation doesn't feel right, if you have a feeling that your partner or ex-partner might get obsessive, trust your instincts.

  • Talk to your friends and family immediately if you think a partner or ex-partner is getting obsessive. Begin documenting everything and don't be afraid to call the police to report the behaviors.

  • Look into information about batterer characteristics. Stalkers are often batterers, so knowing some red flags that can indicate an abusive partner may also help you avoid a stalker. Remember that not all batterers display characteristics that you can immediately spot and don’t blame yourself if you date someone who turns out to be abusive. Batterers are very good at making themselves look good, especially in the beginning of a relationship.

Who can I turn to for help?

 

As we mentioned earlier, enlisting the help and support of your friends and family is an important step. Your loved ones can provide encouragement and safety, they can be witnesses to some of the behaviors of the stalker, and they can watch out for you.

Call the police if the stalker has threatened you or you believe his or her behaviors have escalated. Make the reports so that they are on record in case you decide you want to file a protection or harassment order against your stalker. If you need assistance with a 
protection order, an advocate would be glad to help you.

 

You can talk with a trained advocate at the DOVES Program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-866-95-DOVES (36837). We can work with you on creating a safety plan and brainstorm ideas with you about what your next steps may be. We want you to remember that what’s happening to you isn’t your fault and we are here to support you.

Copyright 2016. The DOVES Program. Created by Jennifer Ponce. Original design by Paige One. All rights reserved.

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866-95-DOVES (36837)

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