Excerpts from Hey, Back Off! Tips for Stopping Teen Harassment
By Jennie Withers
Stalking is a form of harassment and bullying. Harassment itself is unwanted attention, but stalking takes it a step further. The victim is unable to ever be away from their harasser. The victim is followed or put under surveillance. It violates the victim’s right to privacy. Naturally, when a person’s privacy is taken away they fear for their safety. Stalking has to be taken very seriously because if it is not stopped it can lead to a serious crime against the victim. This is why stalking is illegal in all 50 states.
It is an incredibly frightening thing for the victim to know someone is watching. Because of this, stalking creates a hostile environment. Example behaviors of stalking are: following, watching the victim’s house or other places the victim will be, unwanted calls or texts, sending unwanted emails or notes. Whether something is stalking or not is the decision of the victim. This is important for victims to understand. If you feel like you are being stalked, then you are and you need to take action to stop it.
Psychologists split stalkers into three different categories.
Love Obsession – The stalker has a fixation on a person even though there is not, nor ever has been, a personal relationship with their victim.
Erotomania – This stalker, like the Love Obsession stalker, harasses someone with whom they have no relationship. The difference between the two is that the Erotomania stalker believes, or wants to believe, their victim loves them. The target is often a well-known person. This could be the popular person at work or a famous actor or actress.
Simple Obsession – This is probably the one we hear of most often. It is the type of stalking that is triggered by rejection. There is a previous relationship like a marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, friendship, etc. When they are rejected, the stalker ‘gets back at them’ or ‘tries to get them back’ through stalking.
The popular myth is that stalkers are mostly harmless. However, this statement would be made by the person who isn’t being stalked. It is true that not all stalking incidences turn violent, but some of them do. Even if the stalker never gets violent, there is the invasion of privacy. Nobody likes that feeling of being watched. Any time someone is made to feel uncomfortable, that’s not harmless.
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Dealing with a stalker is stressful and sometimes difficult. The victim is unable to be away from their harasser. The victim is put under surveillance. Their right to privacy is violated so naturally they fear for their safety. Stalking situations are severe and persistent harassment and should be reported. Take stalking seriously because often times it leads to a serious crime. You can try telling them they are making you uncomfortable. Do not accuse them of being a stalker. This will put them on the defensive and they could become more unpredictable. Make sure you talk to them in a safe situation like a public place. If that doesn’t work, report. See the tips below.
It is often impossible for victims of stalking to feel safe and secure. Combating the fear that victims feel, as well as the stalker, requires getting your sense of safety back. A good way to do this is to have a plan. This plan should include safe places you can go, safe people to be with, what to do when you’re in crisis, who you can report to and resources that are available to you. It should also include a password to let your friends and family members know when you are in trouble. Using a password will get you help without tipping off the stalker that reinforcements are on the way. Having these things in place may also convince the harasser you are not an easy target.
As well as having a safety plan in place with your allies in life, don’t be alone and always let someone know where you’re going to be. Change your cell phone number if the stalker is using that number to get to you. With most cell phone companies changing the number is free. There are a small number of them that charge a fee of around $15. Change your email address and lock them out of your social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Social network sites, at least good ones, have ways to lock people out or delete them from your network. Change your routines so you are unpredictable and therefore harder to stalk.
Many stalkers are cowards and won’t pursue you when it becomes difficult to do so. If the stalker doesn’t back off, you always have the option of getting the law involved. Your right to privacy, safety and security is protected.
This article is a guest contribution from: Jennie Withers who was interviewed earlier this year. To find out more about Jennie please click here
Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse and H.E.A.L.E.R. She is available for national radio, television and speaking engagements surrounding overcoming child sexual abuse, adult healing, and adult homelessness. Call: 202.717.7377 (RESS) Email: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com