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What To Do If You're Being Stalked

6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Stalking

When ESPN host and victim of a stalker Erin Andrews went to DC to lobby for tougher laws against stalking, she shared what her experience taught her:

"One thing I've learned is you don't really talk about how you travel anymore . . . information is very accessible, people talked about how we're in the technology age, so there have been different measures taken."

As technology makes it easier to harass people, Congress is trying to make the legal consequences tougher. The new bill broadens what counts as stalking to include: "conduct [that] would be reasonably expected to cause the other person serious emotional distress." While it's never a victim's fault she's stalked, it's not a bad idea to consider ways to protect yourself. These tips don't take into account the specifics of every situation, but they are simple things to keep in mind.

  1. Tell someone: The first step toward doing something is to tell your friends, family, or co-workers. They will know to use discretion when sharing details about you and can offer support. Ignore the worry you might be overreacting.
  2. Tell the stalker to stop: If someone's making you uncomfortable, be firm and say "please stop." Use plain language and don't worry about hurting any feelings. Then cut off communication.
  3. Write it down: A paper trail can help you bring charges. Write down every time you received a threatening phone call and keep emails and text messages.

To see the rest read more.

  1. Change up your schedule: This will make things more difficult for a stalker and take some of the control away from him.
  2. Think about what you post on the Internet: Like Erin said, today our personal information is so readily available on the Internet. Make sure your privacy settings are set and think twice about posting specific information. If you're by yourself, it's best not to post your exact locations on sites like Twitter or FourSquare.
  3. Report harassment: Talk to the police and let them know that you feel directly threatened and provide records or specific examples. The sooner you speak up, the sooner you start building a case.
Image Source: Getty
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Join The Conversation
genesisrocks genesisrocks 5 years
That's crazy HIding! If someone did that to me they wouldn't have to deal with the police, they would have to deal with my daddy!
lickety-split lickety-split 5 years
Yeah, and the problem with temporary restraining orders is that they are for people who follow rules. Stalkers think they are justified in doing what ever they need to do to get to you. I got a temporary restraining order 4 weeks ago today. Just in the last week he's violated it by sending me 3 emails, calling me twice and leaving threatening messages and placing a tracker on my cell phone. I'm sure he'll be in jail soon. When he gets out, he'll be even more nuts.
lickety-split lickety-split 5 years
Yeah, and the problem with temporary restraining orders is that they are for people who follow rules. Stalkers think they are justified in doing what ever they need to do to get to you. I got a temporary restraining order 4 weeks ago today. Just in the last week he's violated it by sending me 3 emails, calling me twice and leaving threatening messages and placing a tracker on my cell phone. I'm sure he'll be in jail soon. When he gets out, he'll be even more nuts.
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 5 years
WOW Hiding55, that's nuts!! I've had a few stalkers in the past, but have frequently changed my phone numbers, email addresses, and apartments so it's really hard for people I don't know well to get a hold of me. One was particularly scary because I lived alone at the time on a ground-floor apt with a huge sliding glass door in my bedroom, I called friends over every time this guy called me! I would even have my guy friends answer the calls sometimes but he just wouldn't stop calling until I answered. He literally called like 20 times a day/night and I had no idea who it was but he knew things about me. *Shudder*
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 5 years
WOW Hiding55, that's nuts!! I've had a few stalkers in the past, but have frequently changed my phone numbers, email addresses, and apartments so it's really hard for people I don't know well to get a hold of me. One was particularly scary because I lived alone at the time on a ground-floor apt with a huge sliding glass door in my bedroom, I called friends over every time this guy called me! I would even have my guy friends answer the calls sometimes but he just wouldn't stop calling until I answered. He literally called like 20 times a day/night and I had no idea who it was but he knew things about me. *Shudder*
Hiding55 Hiding55 5 years
Great advice if it worked. The only way to get away from a stalker is to go into hiding or wait until he becomes bored with you and moves onto some other woman. My ex stalked me for over a year. He weaseled into every aspect of my life. Calling me at home, on my cell, at work, sending emails to me, my boss, my parents, my co-workers. He got into my bank accounts numerous times and tried to transfer money into a paypal account that he had control of that he set up in my name. He amended my federal tax return to say I had made $100,000 in tips and unreported wages. The list goes on and on. How did he do it? He had installed software on my computer that was tracking my every move online so he had access to all my personal information no matter how careful I thought I was. The police were no help because it was my word against his. I said he was stalking me and he said he wasn't. He slashed my tires/keyed my car and actually called me at work saying something about my car in a crazy voice that day and the police had no interest in speaking to him. Do you have proof he did it? Did you see him do it? No, but I know it was him. My point is it's very hard to get away from someone that is dead set on ruining your life. You can write down incidents until your hand falls off. You can tell your friends, but they aren't with you all the time. You can change your schedule, but do you want to change your job and move to another city? No, but you walk around everyday vigilant as hell and you lock EVERYTHING behind you that you can. All these tips are great for tracking down the psycho after he murders you, but the only way he will truly leave you alone is when he is distracted and moves on to unsuspecting new prey. Just firmly asking him to stop won't cut it.
Hiding55 Hiding55 5 years
Great advice if it worked. The only way to get away from a stalker is to go into hiding or wait until he becomes bored with you and moves onto some other woman. My ex stalked me for over a year. He weaseled into every aspect of my life. Calling me at home, on my cell, at work, sending emails to me, my boss, my parents, my co-workers. He got into my bank accounts numerous times and tried to transfer money into a paypal account that he had control of that he set up in my name. He amended my federal tax return to say I had made $100,000 in tips and unreported wages. The list goes on and on.How did he do it? He had installed software on my computer that was tracking my every move online so he had access to all my personal information no matter how careful I thought I was. The police were no help because it was my word against his. I said he was stalking me and he said he wasn't. He slashed my tires/keyed my car and actually called me at work saying something about my car in a crazy voice that day and the police had no interest in speaking to him. Do you have proof he did it? Did you see him do it? No, but I know it was him.My point is it's very hard to get away from someone that is dead set on ruining your life. You can write down incidents until your hand falls off. You can tell your friends, but they aren't with you all the time. You can change your schedule, but do you want to change your job and move to another city? No, but you walk around everyday vigilant as hell and you lock EVERYTHING behind you that you can.All these tips are great for tracking down the psycho after he murders you, but the only way he will truly leave you alone is when he is distracted and moves on to unsuspecting new prey. Just firmly asking him to stop won't cut it.
dexaholic dexaholic 5 years
Excellent advice!I had to make my twitter private to block a stalker from knowing everything about me, and even considered changing my user-name here too, because it's easily recognizable for those who know me in real life, and things can get pretty personal around here.I also recently found out that an ex stalked me prior to us becoming friends and eventually dating. I told him I think it's best if we cut contact. I have my fingers crosses that he'll respect my wishes. But it taught me to only make public information I am willing to share with everyone and anyone, and keep private what what I'm not.
dexaholic dexaholic 5 years
Excellent advice! I had to make my twitter private to block a stalker from knowing everything about me, and even considered changing my user-name here too, because it's easily recognizable for those who know me in real life, and things can get pretty personal around here. I also recently found out that an ex stalked me prior to us becoming friends and eventually dating. I told him I think it's best if we cut contact. I have my fingers crosses that he'll respect my wishes. But it taught me to only make public information I am willing to share with everyone and anyone, and keep private what what I'm not.
Studio16 Studio16 5 years
This is good advice. My best friend was stalked by a guy who was in love with her. He emailed her about ten times a day, and since she lives on the river, he rented a boat and sailed down it until he got to her house. He also just sent her really creepy emails; one minute they would say he loved her, the next threatening her and her parents because they were rich snobs who hated him. This would have helped her a lot, she spent a lot of time crying and panicking over him because she didn't know what to do. Unfortunately, she did a lot of things advised against in the article. She would answer him by saying, "OK, I'm going to work now." and she was afraid to outright say, "Stop it," because she was terrified he would kill himself.Don't worry about your stalker's feelings. Great post, Tres!
Studio16 Studio16 5 years
This is good advice. My best friend was stalked by a guy who was in love with her. He emailed her about ten times a day, and since she lives on the river, he rented a boat and sailed down it until he got to her house. He also just sent her really creepy emails; one minute they would say he loved her, the next threatening her and her parents because they were rich snobs who hated him. This would have helped her a lot, she spent a lot of time crying and panicking over him because she didn't know what to do. Unfortunately, she did a lot of things advised against in the article. She would answer him by saying, "OK, I'm going to work now." and she was afraid to outright say, "Stop it," because she was terrified he would kill himself. Don't worry about your stalker's feelings. Great post, Tres!
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