Let’s be completely honest, either you have been a stage one stalker or you have been stalked at the stage one level at some point in your life. When people are soul-tied, emotionally connected to one another, who may not know how to identify healthy relationships, they often have trouble processing a break-up. To be more specific, we all have had trouble processing at least one break up in our lives.
Innocent at first, couples often agree to be friends until one admits that they cannot handle the friendship alone, and desire the romance that they once shared. In some instances, people break up and both parties are embattled with the decision was made and they either go back and forth or resolve to hate each other.
Perhaps you know that this person is not the one for you but the sex was outstanding. This person may have cheated and you ended the relationship because your heart is broken but this was not the outcome that you truly hoped to have. You wanted them to beg and plead for you to stay and they did not. They moved on, and you are still in mourning.
There are many scenarios to consider but the one that troubles me, is when someone who is already in a situation where domestic or sexual violence occurs within the relationship, they fear leaving but when they do, stalking begins.
Many victims of domestic violence do not exit their abusive relationships because they fear for the lives of their children, loved ones or even themselves. I believe that education is key in ending or uprooting abuse of any kind, and for this reason, I am going to highlight the six stages (click here) and encourage you to read the four things that you can do to take immediate action if you are being stalked.
First, if you are being stalked I know that you are afraid. It is a scary experience to feel like you are not in control of your life. It is a position that resembles helplessness, and no one enjoys to feel like they do not know what is going to happen next.
When a woman who we will call Denise reached out to me at almost midnight tonight in an email she said this in part:
I know you have given me some outlets, but I am scared!! I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t!! I told him not to contact me and to leave me alone…But I’m afraid, and for the first since being away from him I’m actually telling someone I am afraid, afraid of him looking for me, for my children, for custody issues…How did I ever get myself and my children into such a horrible situation?? Why did I let this happen?? Why didn’t I see the signs?? I am riddled with questions and I’m strong I believe that I am but he makes me very unsettled..unsettled is an understatement!! I’m scared to talk to anyone, I’m afraid that no one will listen, that he will somehow walk away with my baby and hurt her…I don’t trust him, he won’t leave me alone…He always comes back just as soon as I think he has left me alone he always comes back, and then I worry that maybe he’ll get mad at me and try to hurt my dad or something, because my dad is in my hometown…I just needed to talk to you, because I know you understand, I know you understand and you will hear me without judging me…I apologize for me emailing you so late…hope to hear from you soon…
The reason that I chose to share this part of her email is not to exploit her emotions but to show you that you are not alone. In fact, according to the Stalking Awareness Month website (which is in January) 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method.
According to Lilac Lane there are six stages of Stalking and they are:
- The persistent ex, or the persistent suitor
- Uncomfortable contact, interference
- Intimidating contact, implied threats, illegal interference
- Aggression or violence toward inanimate objects
- Aggression or violence toward live creatures
Here are some important actions that I have encouraged Denise to take. In her situation, she was in an abusive relationship and fled. He continues to contact her, and tries to make excuses to have her contact information. She was a victim of domestic violence, and he is also suspected of molesting one of her children.
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Out of fear, Denise may respond to emails, as she fears an escalation of behavior if she does not comply with email responses minimally, although she has asked him to please stop contacting her.
- Be empowered
You are not responsible for his actions. It is not your fault that you did not understand what signs lead to domestic violence, child sexual abuse, or stalking. Many people do not know that they need to be educated in these areas.
You have the power to make choices that will heal your family, and protect you from further harm. In order to go through with this however, you must push past your fear. In Denise’s case, she left and did not leave an address. This is a great way to start your exit.
- Find Resources
There are many organizations who recognize that women have to get away from domestic and sexual violence, and sometimes leave with nothing and nowhere to go. There are federal and local state grant monies available to victims of domestic violence, and much of those monies go to provide transitional housing, and subsidized programs for children and families.
**Sometimes learning the system can be difficult. I am able to offer court and social services advocacy if you have questions about the processes associated with obtaining relief. I do not work for a government agency, and hold no responsibility for offering guidance to help you find your way and I do understand that this process can be frustrating without the right support to help you navigate. **
- Block Access To You
You can go on your Facebook, Twitter or other social network profiles, and put in the stalkers known email addresses, and I would also add the email addresses of their associates (if you know them). You can block them by going to their page. Look them up by name of email address and I would block them by both.
You can go through your email address and block his/her email address too. This means that any further communication will be intercepted. You will not know that the stalker sent you something, and they will not know that it was not received.
You can do this immediately.
- Contact Your Family
Let your family know that you have a stalker. You do not have to go into detail, with long drawn out victim blaming conversations. Somehow families are famous for blaming the victim for being raped, assaulted, stalked or violated in any way. It makes absolutely no sense, and it is not healthy for you to engage in, so be strong and be prepared to be in and out of the conversation.
Many victims are in fear that their family may be in danger. You are calling them simply to let them know that they should be watchful for anything that looks suspicious as if they are being followed, or for example, if the they approach the house and it looks or feels like someone is present they should not enter without police presence.
You can let them know that it may not escalate to this level and you certainly hope that it doesn’t but your call is to ask for their prayers and to warn them that you are concerned that they may also be in danger.
Of course I am offering this as a part of the solution if your stalker knows your family, where they live or work and would be welcomed by your family without knowledge of what they are doing to instill fear or pursuit of harm against you.
- Call The Police
Seriously. If you read the stages of Stalking and you are at or above stage three, you need to file a report. You likely have some proof that this is going on, via voicemail, email, or witnesses. If not, call anyway. You want documentation. This is important.
I had to call the police once, and thank God I did. It was not pretty but they caught him before he could enter my apartment. I identified him, and he was taken away. He was arrested, refused bail, and spent three years in jail. I wrote about this situation in my memoir, the chapter with all the case numbers. You can find it by clicking here
Stalking is scary. It is confusing to the person who is being stalked because you are unsure whether the stalking is a form or imbalanced affection or whether the actions are will escalate to a life-threatening or fatal act of violence. Since you may not know, it is wise to always be clear about what you want, and discerning about the truth of the matter. You should always protect first, when you are feeling scared. Love should never make you experience fear.
Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. She is available for radio, television and speaking engagements surrounding child sexual abuse and homelessness nationwide. Please email your request to: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com or call 202.717.7377