Below are four big warning signs of stalking to be aware of for yourself or loved ones.
Calling multiple times a day may be confused with clinginess or interest, but don’t be fooled: constant contact may be an early sign of stalking. Stalkers feel the need to know what you’re doing at all times, and the easiest way for them to do that when they’re not around is to call and text incessantly. In this era of advanced technology, constant communication is all too easy to initiate, therefore it is all too easy to blow off as normal. However, this behavior often escalates into stalking.
Browsing a new fling’s social media accounts is pretty typical, but if someone starts asking extremely specific questions about an Insta-post with your ex, that should raise an eyebrow. Again, technology makes online stalking extremely easy, and an in-depth study of your presence on the internet could lead to digital tracking in the future. Making sure your passwords aren’t obvious is always a good idea because hackers and stalkers alike will try to guess or steal them; making you vulnerable.
Asking about your day is normal; inquiring countless times a day about your location and company and digitally tracking you are not. What may at first appear as extreme curiosity is often a sign of extreme control. If you notice that someone is asking a few too many questions about your activity, who you’re hanging out with, when you might be free, seek help: especially if they start showing up uninvited.
The occasional surprise is sweet if you make it clear to your partner or friend that you don’t mind or like it, but unannounced (and undesired) appearances are the brightest red flag of stalking. (Watch Intensity from our Behind the Post campaign to see a great example of what we mean). If you tell someone that you have plans to meet up with friends after work and he or she is waiting outside as soon as you’re finished, don’t blow it off as affectionate: this type of behavior can become extremely dangerous. Likewise, if you start receiving unwanted, unnecessary, and even inappropriate gifts, you may want to reassess your relationship.
If you only take away one thing from these warning signs, it is that you should always, always trust your gut: if it feels off, it probably is. To learn more about stalking and what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, visit the Stalking Resource Center or call 800-FYI-CALL (800-394-2255) Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. And check out our top 5 picks for resources on stalking.
Supporting Loved Ones Experiencing Stalking
Most victims of stalking talk to a friend, family member, or someone else they know and trust about the situation before pursuing any sort of professional or legal help. If a stalking victim talks to you, your response makes a huge difference in if they feel validated and/or seek help.
These tips can help you respond:
Don’t question or minimize what they tell you.
For example, don’t say “well maybe they just miss you” or “they probably didn’t realize it was bothering you.”
Instead, say “that sounds scary” or “I can see why that would be upsetting.”
Even well-intentioned friends can accidentally blame victims.
Don’t ask questions such as “why did you respond to that text message?”
Focus on the stalker’s actions, for instance, “It is not right that they kept texting you.”
Nothing the victim did justifies the stalker’s behavior.
Remind victims that this is not their fault.
Thank them for trusting you enough to have the conversation.
Help the victim think through options – like learning more about stalking on the SPARC website,reaching out to local service providers, or calling police.
— Victims may or may not want to take action. Respect their choices.
Do not share any information about the victim with the stalker.
Ask the victim who else they have told and respect their wishes about who to share this information with.
Victim Connect can refer victims to local services.
Stalking Prevention, Awareness, & Resource Center (SPARC) of AEquitas StalkingAwareness.org SPARC provides information on stalking, including some general safety planning suggestions, statistics, and other information. • National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Safety Net TechSafety.org This free app helps to educate the public about digital privacy and safety tools.
• Stalking cases can last a long time, and your loved one’s reactions, wants, needs, and feelings might change over time.
• Continue to check in and be a source of support. Ask questions like, "How can I help you feel safer?"
• Ask the victim how they feel the safest being contacted and use that medium to contact them. Some stalkers monitor victims’ social media accounts, phones, and/or other forms of digital communication.
Stalking Online Risk Assessment tool
Stalking Incident Log
Safety Planning Strategies for Stalking
APP that helps identify tech stalking
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Giselle Sharp is the victim and survivor counselor working especially with students who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
Confidential resource, off-campus
24-hour crisis hotline for domestic and sexual violence survivors
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Crisis Line: 256.236.7233
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Oversees the university’s centralized review, investigation, and resolution of reports of sexual misconduct, sex-based discrimination, or sex-based harassment (including incidents of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence).
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700 Pelham Road North
Angle Hall, Suite 301-A
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265
Salls Hall 700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265
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