Being Stalked? Take Action!  


Take Action

As soon as you feel there is a problem, take the following steps:

You must make a direct statement to them that you no longer want any contact -- until you do that, they are not technically, legally stalking you!  To clearly establish that any further contacts are unwanted and will be in violation of your consent, tell them no in front of a witness.  If you have to, send a succinct certified letter (or have your attorney send a letter).  Email does not count.

Say no without any qualifiers. Stalkers are desperate to interpret phrases or actions as "maybes" or as signs that they're getting through to you. Do not say "I'm sorry, I'm not interested."  Never include "I'm sorry." This is interpreted by stalkers as a sign that you have emotions for them, which they will see as a victory, or as hope of future change... so they will contact you again later!

Say no clearly, while avoiding humiliating them.  Don't engage in dialogue. If they try to have a conversation and you can't get around them, pick a statement and keep repeating it. For instance just say "I'm not interested, there is nothing to discuss."


* Cease all contact. Stalkers thrive on REACTION, ATTENTION, and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Don't give any of this. Do not be available in any way. Behave as though they don't exist. If you let them see you reacting to their actions, they experience it as personal power. Don't do anything that suggests that they affect your world or that you notice their behavior. Don't give them excuses to contact you - if you have stuff they claim is theirs, leave it at their friends' house and let the friend get it back to them (giving the stuff up is worth it - break all possible connections!).  If there are certain types of contact or communication that are necessary or unavoidable (such as for divorce preparations or child visitation arrangements), appoint a reliable representative (preferably a man - stalkers prefer to deal with women) to handle all communication instead of you.

* Notify friends, family, and your boss that this person is violating your right to peace and privacy, and is interfering with your personal freedoms and quality of life. Ask your peers outright to help you in the following manner:  Explain that they must NOT dialogue with the person in any way, regardless of any excuses the stalker may give. Then ask them to promise to notify you ASAP any time that they see or have contact with this person.  Remind everyone you know that they cannot give out information about you to anybody, even if they think it's not the stalker.

* Evaluate your mail delivery. If there's any way for them to access your mail, start having it delivered elsewhere.

* Collect information about anti-stalking laws in your state.  Figure out what steps you will need to get them arrested on a stalking charge, and follow those steps.  When you have enough documentation you can get a Restraining Order (Personal Protection Order).  These don't usually stop the stalking; their purpose so that you can get a good arrest report and more court time and jail time each time they violate the Order.  Legal intervention helps to pull the stalker back down to reality.

Even if you have children and there are visitation/custody arrangements, you can still have a Restraining Order approved -- it will specify that the only contact they can have is that necessary for visitation arrangements.


Collect Documentation

Stalking is a crime because it is a pattern of repeated contact. You need recorded data about the events, to show that it is indeed stalking.

* Assemble and maintain a STALKING LOG of all contact and attempted contact. Use a notebook or write on a computer. Entry should include date, time, details of the event, and any witnesses. Include as much detail as possible. If you write the entry on computer, print it out and sign/date it by hand the same day, so no one can accuse you later of having changed the computer files over time. This log may become a legal document later.  (If you are starting this log late, write down each earlier event on a separate page, with the estimated date of each event, plus the date that you wrote it down.)

* Maintain a file containing all WRITTEN CONTACT AND EVIDENCE, such as letters, notes, envelopes, or gifts they sent to you. Don't write on the documents themselves and don't overhandle them (retain their fingerprints). Put each item in a zip-lock bag and write the date and time on the bag.

* Install a physical ANSWERING MACHINE and stop answering your phone. This is the stage at which you must begin compiling evidence in case the stalking escalates. If the stalker leaves any messages, at the end of that day the tape should be removed, labeled (date), and filed, and a new blank tape put into the machine. DO NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE ANY MORE, no matter how tempted you are! Anyone who calls that you want to talk to, you can always call them right back. If you pick up a call and it is the stalker, they will again view it as a victory or as a source of hope -- regardless of what you say, even if you scream and yell at them.

* Keep a CELPHONE with you at all times.  It will be especially helpful if you are in your car and realize they're nearby.


                    Being stalked online?  Compile physical evidence (save all emails on disk and printed out; save all public posts on disk and as screen captures; collect all IP evidence possible), then contact authorities to report the crime.  Once it's filed as a crime, have them get warrants to track more information about the stalker's IP addresses, real name and home address.


Personal Protection Order

Call your local women's shelter or crisis shelter for advice on the best way to file for a Protection Order in your community.  It varies from state to state.


Dealing with Police

I have found, from personal experience, that the more hysterical a victim is, the less helpful police are, and the more resistant they become.  (Unfortunately.)  Whenever you deal with police, try to be organized.  Don't throw information at them willy nilly - describe events clearly, in chronological order.  Give a short summary of the current crisis and then let them ask the questions.  It will help if you carry a one-page summary of your case in your purse.  (Your name and contact info, stalker's name and contact info, date case began, list of the main stalking events and main criminal events, protection order # if you have one, etc.)



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