Stalking: What Should You Do?

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Nearly one in six women and one in seventeen men experience stalking victimization in their lifetime. One-half of all victims indicated that they were stalked before the age of twenty-five. Most are stalked by someone they know. Many are stalked by a current or former dating partner or by an acquaintance.  
You may be a victim of stalking if someone: 
  • Repeatedly calls you. This includes hang-ups. 
  • Follows you and shows up wherever you are 
  • Sends unwanted gifts, letters, texts, or emails 
  • Damages your home, car, or other property 
  • Monitors your phone calls, computer use, and may use spyware 
  • Uses technology, like hidden cameras or a GPS to track your whereabouts 
  • Drives by or lingers near your home, school, or work 
  • Threatens to harm you, your family, friends, or pets 
  • Performs other actions that control, track, or frighten you 
  • Uses family, children, or friends to try to communicate with you 
  
Stalking victims may: 
  • Fear what the stalker may do 
  • Feel vulnerable, unsafe, or do not know who to trust 
  • Feel depressed, hopeless, angry, anxious, irritable, on-edge and are hypervigilant 
  • Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories 
  • Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because others do not understand why you are afraid 
  • Miss work or school for fear of seeing your stalker 
  • Change normal or preferred social media habits 
 
 What can you do? These actions may not work for everyone, but may help you feel in control of your life again: 
  • Call 911 for Immediate Assistance – Trust your instincts and call for help if you fear danger. 
  • Alert Others – Confide in trusted friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and your HR department to look for suspicious activity. Avoid giving information to someone pretending to be a loved one. 
  • Connect with an Advocate – An advocate can be found at a local domestic violence agency, police departments and District Attorney’s offices. They can explain local stalking laws, assist you in filing a protective order, help develop a safety plan, and refer you to local resources. 
  •  Document Every Incident – log all encounters with the stalker, hang-up calls and public sightings. Save all messages, emails and your call history.  Include dates. 
  • End All Contacts – this may be easier said than done. Try not to answer calls or messages, even if you are asking that the stalker stop. Any contact may encourage the stalker to continue stalking behavior. 
  • Take Threats Seriously – A direct threat is an obvious sign of danger. The stalker may use threats of suicide or self-harm to manipulate you into staying in contact or to lure you into a dangerous situation.  
  • Create a Safety Plan – Develop a personalized plan to stay safe. Find help from an advocate. 
  • Prepare Your Children – Teach them what to do in an emergency, like where to hide if there is danger in your home, or how to call 911. 
  • Remember That Cyberstalking is a Crime - Stay safe online by using strong passwords, making yourself hard to track down, and being mindful of what you share on social media.  
 Again, if you report a crime, ask the responding officer for an advocate. It is vital to document a clear timeline of events to law enforcement. Stalking is one of the few crimes where the burden of collecting and preserving evidence falls on the survivor.  
 
The LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate can help. Contact 318-992-2067 Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. In an emergency, dial 911.