In my life, I have experienced three stalkers. All of them were very different people with one thing in common: they all possessed an incredible ability to wreak havoc in my life. Although I cannot go back and change the past, I see now the many things I could have done then instead of waiting until things grew out of control. I hope this lens will help educate you on how to survive your own stalking experience by not letting it win over your life.
How to Survive a Stalker
Stalking is often difficult to prove leaving victims and law enforcement frustrated at their lack of options. By taking simple steps victims can make changes to protect themselves.
My first stalker experience began with the new guy at work. At first I just assumed if I ignored him then he would get the point and leave me alone. Instead of leaving me alone, he would find me constantly, hit on me which included full X-rated descriptions of all the "fun" we could have, and over time developed a bad habit of getting far to close for comfort. As time passed, I dreaded coming to work if he was there. He had an unnerving way of sneaking up behind me while I would do dishes in the sink and let his hands "wander." I would turn around, shove him off, and tell him to go away but I was still scared to tell anyone. What if they did not believe me and I lost my job instead? Not to mention the whole situation was downright embarrassing.
A while passed before one of my managers, only a few years older than me who was also my friend, became aware of the situation. He got upset and immediately reported it. When it was uncovered, I had to write a report detailing every little thing which happened (which was embarrassing and awful) but in the end it all worked out. He was fired and I thought things were okay. WRONG. Instead of it ending there, he decided he could come back to 'see' me. My coworkers would get mad and send him away. One time he refused to leave until he showed me a picture. I was so tired of the visits, I just went and looked then returned to work. This would be the last time I would see him (yay!). A day or two later he got in serious trouble for putting a hand up a girl's skirt at school. He was expelled and then I found out was facing trouble with the police.
Making the workplace a harassment free zone
Being sexually harassed at work is a lot more common than you might think. Actually, most of the time I'm not even sure people are aware of that what's happening is defined as sexual harassment. Not only that but it is not confined to just women, men can also be sexually harassed. If you are not sure if what is happening qualifies as sexual harassment or you are afraid to come forward then hopefully these books can guide you on the best decision for your life and career.
What you need to know about Sexual Harassment in the workplace
|Step Forward: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What You Need to Know!|
A book that every employee should have in hand--a practical, no-nonsense guide to what sexual harassment is and what each manager, supervisor and employee should do about it. Co...
Have you ever been stalked?
As I look back I realize I should have told someone or everyone.Not one person was angry at me for telling; in fact, they were upset I did not tell anyone sooner. As soon as it happened, my boss made sure we were not on the same schedule times until they could fire him (which happened very soon). Had I just told someone the first time things crossed the line he would have been out of there, away from me, and much less likely to have come back to 'see' a girl who refused to take his nonsense.
So if you are experiencing sexual harassment anywhere then tell someone or everyone and put a stop to empowering the d-bags. The more confident they become the more likely their actions will grow bolder. To this day I am still thankful to the woman who got this guy expelled for what he did. She was strong enough to put a stop to him and I owe her a big thank you. So thank you unknown person! Your actions meant the end of his hold on my life and hopefully, he is getting a lot of much-needed help.
Learn to Communicate with Confidence
I was afraid to talk about what was happening partly because I am stubborn and because I did not know how to put it into words. How do you just go up to someone and say..."So my coworker tried to feel me up again. Can you do something about them?" Awkward. Perhaps if I had known how to communicate I would have been able to say what I needed to. Although now I would just give him a hard kick to the solar plexus and then loudly share he was a sick jerk who would soon be getting fired.
|Communicate with Confidence, Credibility, and Influence|
As a professional woman, you want others to see you as a strong, competent, take-charge individual. But if your communication style is peppered with weak phrases, submissive ges...
Stalking on the Web Is Just as Serious
My freshmen year of college I was on facebook when a new message popped into my inbox. The inquiry seemed innocent enough, something about whatever or not and would I like to hang out sometime. I declined and said no (it has happened before) and signed off. The next time I came back on their was another message. This one was not so friendly as were the next few which followed.
The worst part would be when he would describe exactly what I had been wearing as I crossed campus. How my blue peacoat with my maroon scarf looked great with my eyes, how my skinny jeans looked really good, and how he waved to me as I crossed the cafe area but I didn't see or respond. Now you might assume after the first stalker I would tell everyone. I didn't. I was freaked out and becoming incredibly jumpy. Thank goodness my dorm window was impossible to peer in without using a ladder.
One day I had enough and I told my boyfriend and several other friends. Then I replied to the guy telling him to stop immediately, this would be his last warning before I went to the police, and pretty much all my guy friends had already informed me if he got near me they would beat his a**. Then I changed all of my facebook settings to make myself invisible to search, set my profile to private, disabled messages being sent to me and went through everyone of my friends. Those who I did not really know or had not spoken to in years were deleted. I stopped going places alone, made sure to tell people where I was going, and avoided places he had described me being. Either he was smart enough to realize I was being serious or realized sending emails is a great means of evidence for a case against him because he stopped trying to reach me.
Keeping Yourself out of the Predators Net
I am not a big facebook person meaning I go on to say what I have to say and then log off. I know other people who spend literally HOURS going through profiles, looking at pictures, and finding out about the other people's lives. Sometimes I think it pushes the border on stalking. If you want to know more, these books can be a guide. Cyberstalking can be just as bad as people stalking you without using the internet. Stalking is stalking so find out if what is happening to you is normal.
|Catching the Catfishers: Disarm the Online Pretenders, Predators, and Perpetrators Who Are Out to...|
"Tyler Cohen Wood is truly top-notch. Her expertise will make this book a must-read for anyone who wants to manage their online image or protect themselves and their children in...
With the first stalking experience I had only my word to go on. The second had actual evidence along with a connection to his own facebook. If he had kept up what he was doing, I could have gone to the police with concrete proof. Perhaps I should have gone but again...I am far to stubborn in not wanting to share my personal life even if it's for my own good. Also, I made the stupid mistake of deleting his emails after I changed my facebook settings but I didn't tell him that. I should have kept them but I wanted every part of the experience gone which could have backfired very badly on me.
If you are being stalked then save every bit of their actions. Letters, emails, anything which is actual proof of their actions. If worse comes to worse and you need a restraining order then you can clearly show why. Destroying their actions may make you feel better (it did me) but I was lucky. If this ever happens again, I will not rely on luck and neither should you. Save all the evidence and be ready to use it.
Video and Body Cameras to Record Stalking Evidence
Just because it is not written out does not mean you are not being stalked
The second stalker was kind of an idiot for such blatant evidence but I am also an idiot for not keeping the evidence so it was mutual. If you do not have concrete proof then get some. Just make sure you are not going to be charged for invasion of privacy which would be quite ironic as they are invading yours. If no one will believe you then take steps to give them complete proof.
If you are being stalked then cut off their means of communication. Change your email, your passwords, set your facebook to private, get a new cell phone number, do whatever you can to make yourself unavailable. My dorms were passkey protected on both the outer door and the inner door to my floor. You had to live in the building to get in and the dorms were separated by sexes so I knew he did not have access. Still, I also made sure to always keep my room locked and am grateful that (even when it was only my computer getting fixed) my fellow floor mates kept an eye out for suspicious people. They even reported on the computer guy because he was not escorted by anyone onto the floor!
Also, my school's buildings (for the most part) are also passkey protected and at night have routine security guard checks making it more difficult for someone who looks out of place to be wandering around. This was an immense help as I knew it made trying to reach more all the more difficult.
Stop the Stalker
I am happy to this day I did not really own a cell phone my freshmen year. What I mean is: my boyfriend did get me one but I gave out my number to almost no one and hardly used it. It's hard to find a number which is only known to close people who would become very suspicious if a stranger asked. I also cut off any means of internet contact and made sure people I was not familiar with were gone. I have a feeling he watched from a far but was not smart/dumb enough to get close to me with my friends or security at my side..
If you are not sure what to do...then take a look at some of these book suggestions. They can help you find a balance between keeping your technological sanity and cutting off the stalker's means into your life.
|How to Stop a Stalker|
One out of every 12 women and one out of every 45 men in the United States are stalked in their lifetimes. If you are a victim of a stalker or suspect that you might be, this bo...
|Antidote For A Stalker: Our newest guide designed to generate a better understanding of the ever ...|
Antidote For a Stalker, is a self-help text designed to assist the victims of stalking, law enforcement, victim advocates, educators, as well as those trying to understand this ...
When I worked in retail I would often be their closing for several hours after mall time. To protect ourselves, we would walk out together towards are cars just to make sure we were not alone. If I had a lab project, I would ask someone to come with. On nights where I had to cross campus alone I would call our paid security to escort me. My sophmore year I lived five or six blocks from school so I would call campus security to drive me back if it was dark or to late to be walking alone. Being very petite has taught me I can easily be overpowered and the best way to avoid it is to have someone there with me.
If you are being stalked then try to make sure you are not left in a vulnerable place by being alone. One of my coworkers in retail had to work at another mall which is no stranger to muggings or problems at night. He had security escort him to his car just to be safe. If there is no security then make sure to have a friend with you. Just the presence of another person is a deterrent to someone approaching you. If you are alone then be aware of your surroundings and not distracted by texting or listening to your ipod. When going out to my car I would also hold my keys ready in my hand in case someone decided to get to close. You can use them to scratch the person and you definitely do not want to be fumbling around for your keys when you reach your car in a dim lit area.
If You Are Being Stalked and Find Yourself Alone
#1 Do not be an idiot like myself. Go to the police. Go to your boss. Write to congress (just kidding on that one) but seriously, do not think leaving the situation alone is a good idea. I'm still so happy stalker #1's (take that you sicko!!) actions were reported because of this brave girl's words his past behaviors were brought to light.
He must have come to the conclusion any more strikes and who knows what would happen which is probably his reason for stopping his pursuit over me. Why he was pursuing me I will never understand...nor do I want to ask him.
Use with Care. Mace is not a toy!
#2 Consider Carrying Your Own Stalker Protection
Mace IS an option
Before you go all out loading up on weapons and who knows what, please ask the police (who you notified earlier right?) what is the best method to use in your situation. You do not want to end up with a major fine or jail time for possessing an illegal item. So check the rules in your state/country!
Now on to the story of why you should not just out and get something to protect yourself without clearly considering if it's the best option. My sophmore year of college I lived in the farthest apartment from campus. The area was not the best and a professor was even seriously injured from getting mugged and beaten close to campus while walking his dog. So my roommate's mom was a bit paranoid about us walking back from our night classes alone.
Her solution? Mace/pepper spray! Both of us thought it was a very good idea and were happy with her pick until a little incident. One night on our way back my friend wanted to stop and light a cigarette to smoke on our walk back. She proudly said her system of mace in left pocket and lighter in right pocket ensured no accidents. Right....
She must have gotten confused while pulling out a cigarette because she reached for the MACE and not the lighter. I felt like one of those movie moments and practically jumped her right before it could go off. There were a few words which no small children should hear and a "FOOLPROOF SYSTEM??!!!" Clearly, we were unprepared to handle the intricacies of mace as spraying your face with a chemical causing extreme agitation preventing you from seeing clearly is a great way to get mugged!
A stalker does not just invade your physical life but plays havoc on your emotions and insecurities. They play mental games with you, making you wonder if you are truly alone or not. Having someone say they saw you and describe your outfit in detail is downright terrifying because you have no idea what else they are observing about you. Are they outside your window? In the line for food behind you? It's questions like these which start to make you paranoid. You lose something incredibly important. Your privacy and after it has been violated it becomes a difficult task to feel secure again.
You may have noticed there is no story about stalker #3. The reason being he was not the typical stalker and I could not shut his presence out of my life for years. There are times when I still face a mental battle over the damage he left behind and I am not able to talk about the experience yet.
Still, one of the greatest things a stalker victim can do is to stay mentally strong. Some days might feel impossible but we have to remember this is incredibly important to our own sanity. If we fall apart then the stalker wins. So just being able to get up each day and say "you twat! I will not let you control this day!" is an accomplishment. Be strong and enjoy life! Do not let the fear win and especially not the animal-excrement calling themselves a human stalking you. You are far better than that!
Stories on Those Who Faced the Worst & Made it Through
Years passed before I was able to openly share about my experiences. Okay, I am still working on the worst one because it impacted my life for years and trumps the others by about 100000000000. I also am not yet able to share the worst details of those other two experiences so you are getting the much abbreviated not-so-bad PG version (the one even pre-teens can experience!).
These books are from people who are FAR braver than myself. They are being open about one of the WORST and most frightening experiences a human can ever go through. I salute all of you brave people for being able to openly share some of the most painful and frightening times in your life.
|My Life Changed Forever: The Years I Have Lost as a Target of Organized Stalking|
My Life Changed Forever is the author’s story about being forced to live under constant surveillance since 1994. It is a true crime exposé into the world of organized stalking, ...
|Stalkers: Disturbing True-Life Stories of Harassment, Jealousy and Obsession|
From shadowy online stalkers to jealous ex-lovers, from obsessed fans to crazed and dangerous criminals, this book probes the innermost instincts of the perpetrators involved in...
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