If you are being stalked, you are likely to feel anxious, alone, vulnerable, and stressed. You also may have trouble concentrating at school and difficulty sleeping at night. Because stalking has the potential to become violent in some way, it’s important that you understand the complexities of the issue as well as what you can do to protect yourself.
What Is Stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of behavior that makes teens feel nervous, afraid, harassed, or in danger. Typically, stalking occurs when someone repeatedly contacts your teen, follows them, sends them things, or threatens them. Although anyone could potentially stalk your teen, stalking often occurs either as part of an abusive dating relationship or after the relationship has ended.
It also might be accompanied by digital dating abuse, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking. Here are some examples of stalking behavior:
- Knows your schedule
- Shows up at the same places or events as you
- Follows you or lurks near your home
- Watches you from a distance
- Drives by your home or your workplace repeatedly
- Photographs you without permission
- Calls or texts you repeatedly
- Sends you unwanted emails or photos
- Writes letters or leaves you notes
- Steals things that belong to them
- Damages your property
- Threatens you or attempts to control your behavior
- Spreads rumors or false information about you
- Harasses you online through social media
How to protect yourself
If you are being stalked, it’s important that you take precautions to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, stalking behavior has the potential to escalate into physical violence and can even result in sexual assault. Be as vigilant as you can and never hesitate to contact the police if you are in danger. Here are your legal options as well as some safety strategies you can implement.
Legal Options and Strategies
- File an official complaint. Make sure you let police know about any stalking you have experienced as well as any threats that have been made. You also should let them about any damage to your property. Even if there’s nothing they can do initially, you will at least have a complaint on file should the stalking escalate or continue.
- Create a stalking log. Anytime you are contacted or stalked in some way, you need to add it to your log. Keep track of the date, time, location, and witnesses. This information is useful for the police as well as for a lawyer in case you decide to hire one.
- Save evidence of stalking. If the person stalking you leaves notes, sends photos, write letters, or sends emails, make sure you saving evidence of these things. All of this information can be useful for police who are trying to build a case against the person stalking you.