What is stalking?
Stalking is unwanted behaviors, such as monitoring or continuous contacting, of a targeted person. Anyone can be a victim of stalking, and their stalker may have any sort of relation to the victim. The stalker could be a stranger, but most of the time it is someone that the victim knows, such as a partner.
Why is stalking so harmful?
Stalking puts victims in a vulnerable position in which their feelings of safety and privacy are undermined, which may cause them to fear reaching out for help. Stalking can intensify - it may start as annoying or slightly obsessive behavior, then escalate into harassment that terrorizes the victim. Stalking behavior increases the chance that the victim will experience violence at the hands of their stalker. Stalking is typically underreported to law enforcement, putting victims in an even more vulnerable position.
What are some signs of stalking?
- Following the victim or showing up in places the victim frequents
- Unwanted contact, such as constant texts or phone calls
- Spreading rumors about the victim
- Leaving unwanted gifts for the victim
- Manipulation on the part of the stalker (ex. the stalker threatening suicide if the victim were to report them)
- What can I do to keep my digital information safe from a stalker?
For victims of stalking, data encryption is important for being able to make a safety plan, protect evidence, and seek help. You can read more about how to encrypt data to keep yourself safe here: https://www.techsafety.org/understanding-encryption
What should I do if I think I am being stalked?
If you have any reason to believe that you are in immediate danger, contact law enforcement right away.
Otherwise, there are many resources offered to victims to keep them safe and help them recover from trauma related to stalking. Here are some websites that offer some great options and further information: