What to do When Someone is Stalking You
Being stalked is a terrifying situation. It can be difficult to know what to do, how to react, or what resources are available to you to solve the problem. This quick and straightforward guide will give you some tips on how to react in a safe, meaningful way to this dangerous circumstance.
How to Know When You’re Being Stalked: Warning Signs
Here are a few red flags you mustn’t ignore:
- Someone is frequently showing up in places at the same time you are. Especially noteworthy if you follow a particular routine and they have no special reason for crossing paths with you.
- Damage, graffiti, and vandalism to your belongings or property
- Persistent letters, gifts, or social media contact after you’ve made clear such activity is unwanted
- Threats, veiled or otherwise, of any kind
- Contacting friends, family members, and acquaintances to spread rumors about you.
How to Respond to Stalking
If you do believe you’re being stalked, responding appropriately in a way that preserves your safety is critical. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself:
- Do not directly confront the stalker
Any contact with the stalker is likely to escalate the situation. It’s best that you not contact them at all (aside from your initial communication with them to leave you alone).
- Conduct a criminal background check
Many people are under the misconception that only professionals can conduct background checks. That’s untrue. You can gather criminal history information using the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, here. This tool is helpful for tracing Florida arrest records and convictions. If you think that the individual might have a warrant out for their arrest, but has not yet been arrested, there’s another great warrant search tool here. Knowing someone’s criminal background can arm you with useful information in a stalking situation.
- Go to the police
Even if they can’t press charges yet, file a report. The longer and more detailed the paper trail, the more likely they’ll get a conviction in the future.
- Save messages and call records
When you go to the police—which you should—regarding the stalking, you’ll want to be prepared with as much proof of their activity as possible.
- Keep your doors and windows locked, even when at home
If the stalker is someone who has ever had access to your house keys, change your locks, too. It’s an inexpensive precaution that could save your life.
If you have been stalked, you may find that you suffer from anxiety or fear even after the stalking situation itself has been rectified. That’s normal. Share your fears with your friends and family, join a support group, or even consider therapy.