Home > Stalking > Constantly Looking Over Your Shoulder ~ January, Stalking Awareness Month

Constantly Looking Over Your Shoulder ~ January, Stalking Awareness Month

January 14, 2010


What kind of stalking behaviors do victims experience?

Female stalking victims most commonly report being followed, spied on, or watched at home, at work or at places of recreation.  Many also report receiving unwanted phone calls, letters, or gifts, and having restraining or protective orders violated.  Battered women stalked by their current/former abusive partners report: being harmed, having mail stolen, being watched, receiving unwanted calls at home, being following, and receiving unwanted visits from their current or former abusive partners.  Battered women experience multiple, serial forms of violent and harassing stalking behaviors perpetrated against them, sometimes as often as every day.

While many stalkers don’t attack, the threat of violence is usually inferred. Which means that even those victims who aren’t physically harmed suffer tremendously in terms of fear, anxiety and the disruption of their daily lives.

Unfortunately, victims simply don’t know what to do when confronted with being stalked. Neither does law enforcement nor the judicial system. Why? Because in many cases, stalkers successfully terrorize their victims without ever breaking the law.

While there are different kinds of stalking, invariably the stalker tries to establish a cult dynamic of one. It’s a power and control trip through which the stalker tries to distort the victim’s sense of reality. In many ways, stalking is like a rape that goes on and on.

The following list of the most common mistakes that stalking victims make has been culled from Surviving a Stalker: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Yourself Safe, a ground-breaking book by Linden Gross that teaches you how to avoid those life-threatening errors that too many other victims have made.  (No reference is being made to “victim blaming” or “victim precipitation”.)

  1. Not listening to your intuition. As countless stories reveal, you need to keep your internal radar tuned to pick up signals that something might be wrong.

  2. Letting someone down easy, instead of saying a definitive NO if you’re not interested in a relationship. Trying to be nice can lead a potentially obsessive suitor to hear what he or she wants instead of the message that you’re not interested.

  3. Ignoring the early warning signs that annoying attention might escalate into dangerous harassment and pursuit.

  4. Responding to a stalker in any way, shape, or form. That means not acceding to your stalkers demands even once he or she has introduced threats. Linden’s book explains the dynamics behind a threat, and what to do when and if your stalking escalates to this point.

  5. Trying to reason or bargain with a stalker. Stalking is like a long rape. Find out how your natural reactions almost automatically put you at a disadvantage, and what you can do about it.

  6. Seeking a restraining or protective order. All too often, this one act propels stalkers to act violently. It is imperative to way all of your options, pros and cons.  Will or does a piece of paper stop an assailant?  Only if he/she is a law abiding citizen.

  7. Expecting police to solve your problem and make it go away.

  8. Taking inadequate privacy and safety precautions.

  9. Neglecting to enlist the support of family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, therapists and other victims. It may be tough to admit that you’re being stalked, but it’s not your fault. Learn how to gather the people who will constitute your first line of defense.

  10. Ignoring emotional needs during and after a stalking. Do you know how to get the support you need? Learn how to keep yourself sane.

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