Stalking is a tactic that has been known to increase the lethality of a domestic violence situation. About 76% of women killed by an intimate partner are stalked prior to the murder. In fact, most people who are stalked know their stalker.
The general definition of stalking is any pattern of behavior that would leave a person feeling uncomfortable or afraid. All 50 states have some form of stalking statutes, but these vary from state to state. To find out the specifics in your area, call your local law enforcement.
Stalking can present in several different behaviors, ranging from unwanted electronic communications (such as e-mails and text messages) to leaving things in your door way. Behaviors may include:
- Following you
- Threatening you
- Sending unwanted letters
- Asking family and friends about you or trying to get information about where you are, work, or live
- Showing up at your place of employment
- Continually calling you
- Moving, obstructing or damaging your personal belongings to leave a sign they have been to your property
- Using the Internet, e-mail, social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace) or other forums to message or keep track of your whereabouts
Someone being stalked may experience one or all of these behaviors and possibly a whole set of different behaviors.
Keeping a record of stalking incidents is very important if you wish to take legal action against your stalker. The following are helpful tools that you can keep with you in your home or vehicle:
- Baggies, for collecting evidence (use paper for organic evidence)
- Disposable camera
- Note pad
- Rubber gloves
Also ask us about obtaining:
- Stalking handbook
- 911 emergency phone
Stalking is serious! If you feel that you are a victim of these behaviors, please seek help by calling our 24-hour free and confidential helpline at 1-800-559-2927 or the National Center for Victims of Crime Helpline at 1-800-FYI-CALL. For additional resources visit http://www.ncvc.org/src.