Stalking: New Name for an Ancient Evil
By G G Collins (Copyright 2018)
For as long as there have been people, there have been those who persecute others. It is no longer primarily a part of domestic violence but extends to same-gender stalking. Anyone can become a victim. More and more often people are choosing harassment and intimidation as the weapon of choice to exact revenge or as a way of dealing with their own feelings of rejection and low self-esteem. This serious country-wide pastime is ruining lives and restricting the rights of victims while allowing the perpetrator full pursuit of their viciousness.
One woman lost her mother when she was eight years old. Her stalker read the obituary in the paper and began following her to and from school. He sent threatening notes and boldly came onto their property. Police were summoned, but he would flee in time to avoid capture. These scare tactics continued for months.
An actress had to give up her career because the man stalking her wouldn’t allow her to work or live her life without his constant interference. Another actress lost her life. Women are the most likely to be stalked with TV news anchors and on-air female reporters at high risk, but anyone can be a target.
Should you become a victim first remember you are dealing with a person of exceptionally low self-worth. Someone so empty that even with all the attention they desire, can never be satiated. Do not attempt to provide for their needs. You will only become further exploited and some stalkers are exceedingly dangerous. A person prone to this kind of crime may have been tortured as a child—this hardly matters to their current focus.
In a new relationship with either a member of the opposite sex or with a same-sex friendship be alert to any warning signs. A potential harasser will almost immediately demand more attention from you than you are willing or able to give. Numerous and lengthy telephone calls are red flags, followed by annoying messages and nuisance hang-ups. So are “gifts” that appear at your home.
Be careful giving out personal information until a stable relationship has formed. It is amazing what this kind of person can do without seemingly unimportant personal details. Keep conversation generalized in the beginning. This especially includes social media accounts. Don’t post that you’re on vacation or out shopping. It’s not that difficult to find out where you live from your online posts. Postpone photos of a meal you are currently eating. Never give out your current location. When someone dies, make sure that a couple of family members or friends stay at the deceased home during the memorial service.
Should a person begin making efforts to control or manipulate your life in any way, distance yourself from the relationship. These “suggestions” may appear quite benign in the beginning. Conversations such as “Why don’t you do this . . . ?” and “Where were you . . . ?” seem innocuous in the beginning of a relationship, but can lead to loud demands, angry piques and fearful threats. You must remove yourself from this kind of association post-haste. Do not explain to the harasser. Do not make excuses. Do not return phone calls. Just leave. Check your car for a GPS device and your phone for apps someone may have installed to follow you. Use a password on your cell and other computer devices to make them more secure.
You can expect the tormentor to become enraged for awhile. Hang ups will increase and hateful notes may begin to arrive. Do not rise to the challenge.
Do file police reports and/or postal complaints. It is important to begin a paper trail should the notes or calls become threatening in nature. Copies of e-mails, texts and letter should be added to that sequence of documents. When the unwanted attention continues to be ignored it will either fade away as the victimizer focuses on someone else or the harassment will intensify. There is no way to predict. A protective order may be needed, but be advised, they can cost anywhere from $100 to $400 to file. Telephone tracking equipment can also be costly.
You may wish to consult with a professional to help you deal in the most appropriate manner to your own unique situation. And do check out Victims of Crime which is a stalking resource and Reclaiming Your Space.
Remember, it is the perception of the stalker that counts here. You may not feel what you do or who you are could possibly be important enough to single you out, but your judgment is not the same as the harasser. Logic is not a part of the stalker’s repertoire.
Encourage and support efforts of lawmakers to write and enforce tougher stalking laws. Victims of Crime have a listing of states and their stalking laws. Despite anti-stalking laws, proving someone is a stalker still falls heavily upon the victim as does the financial side which can even result in expensive moves to another city or state.
Should you find yourself being pursued, keep in mind that you cannot reason with or help this person. For your safety: get away!