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What To Do When You're Being Stalked
Celebrities aren't the only ones who get stalked. Find out what you can do if you have a stalker.
photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox (Swimfan)

Is there a stalker nearby?

The website www.stalkingbehavior.com identifies some common actions from stalkers that may indicate a person is being stalked. If you think any of these actions are happening quite frequently to you or someone you know, it’s best to let other people know. In this case, the more people know, the better your chances of catching the perpetrator and keeping the potential victim safe.

  1. Stalker makes persistent phone calls to a person despite being told to avoid contact in any form.
  2. S/he waits at victim’s workplace or in the neighborhood.
  3. Stalker sends threats.
  4. Stalker shows manipulative behavior. For example, the stalker threatens to commit suicide in order to get a response to such an “emergency” in the form of contact.
  5. S/he sends written messages in the form of letters, e-mails, graffiti, etc.
  6. Stalker sends gifts—from the seemingly “romantic” (flowers and/or candy) to the bizarre (dog teeth, a bed pan, a blood-soaked feather).
  7. Defamation:  The stalker often lies to others about the victim (claims of infidelity, for example).
  8. “Objectification”:  The stalker severely criticizes the victim, reducing him/her to an object—this allows the stalker the ability to feel angry with the victim without experiencing empathy.

What to do if you’re being stalked

  1. Tell the stalker “no” once and only once, and then never give him the satisfaction of a reaction again. The more you respond, the more you teach him that his actions will elicit a response. This only serves to reinforce the stalking.
  2. Get a dog. Police say this is “one of the least expensive but most effective alarm systems.”
  3. Never give out your home address or telephone number. Get a post office box and use it on all correspondence.
  4. Document everything. Even if you have decided not to go the legal route, you may change your mind. Keep answering machine tapes, letters, gifts, etc. Keep a log of drive-bys or any suspicious occurrences
  5. Take a self-defense class.
  6. Have family and friends screen all calls and visitors.
  7. Don’t accept packages unless they were personally ordered.
  8. Destroy discarded mail.
  9. Keep a cellphone with you at all times.
  10. If you think you are being followed while in your car, make four left- or right-hand turns in succession. If the car continues to follow you, drive to the nearest police station, never home or to a friend’s house.
  11. Never be afraid to sound your car horn to attract attention.
  12. Acquaint yourself with all-night stores and other public, highly populated places in your area.
  13. Consider moving if your case warrants it. No, it’s not fair, but nothing is fair about stalking.
  14. Don’t be embarrassed and think you caused this somehow. Stalkers need no encouragement. Your shame is your stalker’s best weapon. Tell everyone you know that you’re being stalked, from neighbors to guidance counselors, so that when the stalker approaches them for information about you, they will be alerted not to divulge anything and will let you know he’s been around.
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