Stalking is a serious problem. An estimated 6.6 million people are involved in a stalking situation, and that’s just in the United States! While the idea of being watched might not seem like a big deal, the reality is that it’s very concerning. Not only does catching the attention of a stalker erode your mental health, but it’s also a crime that can escalate until it culminates in violence. It’s reported that 68% of female stalking victims and 70% of male stalking victims receive threats of physical harm from their stalker.
Don’t assume that only women have to worry about stalkers. While it’s true that one in six women will be the victim of a stalker, men aren’t completely safe. It’s estimated that 1 in 17 men will have trouble dealing with a stalker.
Stalking is something you want to nip in the bud, which is why it’s so important to recognize the early signs that you’ve attracted a stalker.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings and Be Alert to Familiar Faces
Stalkers often depend on people not being very aware of their surroundings. Being distracted by a cell phone or simply being focused on one thing allows stalkers to get quite close to the person they’re following without ever being noticed. Whenever you’re running errands or even when you’re just hanging out in your yard, be alert and constantly look around you. If you keep seeing the same person over and over again in different locations or near your home, it’s likely that you have a stalker.
Don’t assume that a stalker is always a stranger. If you keep running into the same relative, friend, acquaintance, or romantic interest in random places, it’s possible that they’re stalking you.
You Keep Getting Strange Calls
If you keep getting weirdly random calls, they can either be hang-ups, or they can be from someone who repeatedly claims to be dialing the wrong number, or they could be from someone who simply calls to chat too often, it could be a sign that you’ve attracted a stalker.
Sure, the random bouquet of flowers or an occasional box of chocolate from a secret admirer is fun. But when the gifts keep coming, and the person continues to conceal their identity, the gifts are usually an indicator of a stalker. Even if you know the person who is sending you gifts, if they are excessive or if they are inappropriate, it’s time to take steps to ensure your safety.
Pay Attention to Your Internet Interactions
Internet stalking is a growing problem. The internet provides people with a way to fixate on a person and keep tabs on them at all times of the day or night. It’s not uncommon for internet stalking to be paired with real-time stalking. It’s important to understand that internet stalking is every bit as dangerous as traditional forms of stalking.
Signs of internet stalking include large numbers of texts/emails/DMs from a person. They can also frequently comment on your posts. In most cases, internet communications become increasingly forceful and demanding.
Recognizing that you’re being stalked is the first stage in safely extracting yourself from the situation. The next step is knowing what to do about your stalker.