Nobody wants to have a stalker. Victims of stalking may feel nervous, vulnerable, depressed, hyper-vigilant, anxious, stressed, or isolated. It’s something we don’t like to think about, but it can happen more often than people realize, and so it is important to take steps to protect yourself.
About one million women and 400,000 men in the United States are stalked yearly, and over 8 million women and 2 million American men will struggle with stalking at some point in their lives. This is according to data provided by the Women’s Self-Defense Institute.
These numbers can be quite startling. Of course, stalking takes place in many different forms. When we hear the word stalking, we tend to think about the criminal TV programs, whereby a random maniac fixates themselves on a person for no apparent reason. This can happen, but there are many other forms of stalking. Sometimes, a person will stalk someone to intimidate them or to send a message to someone else, such as their loved one or a parent. It can be used as an intimidation tactic, rather than being a crazed obsession. Needless to say, neither scenario is something anyone wants to experience.
This is why it is important to learn about how to protect yourself from stalking. Anyone who has taken a masters in psychology will be able to shed further light on how the other person’s brain works and their psyche, as well as giving you advice on how to manage your emotions and feelings. So, if this is something you’re struggling with, it’s definitely worth exploring that avenue.
Nevertheless, there are also some practical tips you can take as well. These pieces of advice are beneficial no matter whether you expect someone is stalking you or not. A lot of the tips provided are going to increase your general safety and protect you from communicating with the wrong sort of people. Therefore, not only can they help you in terms of protecting yourself from potential stalking, but they can also make sure your online activity is safer, for instance, ensuring your data doesn’t fall into the hands of a hacker or that your children don’t end up speaking to people that they shouldn’t online.
So, let’s take a look at some of the answers to the question: what can you do to protect yourself from stalking?
There are quite a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe. In this article, we have detailed some of the steps you should take.
- Use a Reputable VPN to Help Secure Your Identity and Location
One way to guard yourself against cyberstalking is to employ a trusted virtual private network service. VPNs let you browse the internet without revealing your location or personal identity. You can decide to buy one whose VPN’s servers are located far away from where you stay. This way, a possible cyberstalker will not be able to know where you are, and will also be unable to hack into your network. There are a number of other online methods you can use to protect yourself as well. This includes everything from firewalls to two-factor authentication. Ensuring your online movements cannot be traced is the number one rule when protecting yourself from anyone! Hackers today use so many techniques to try and breach a system, so layers of security are essential.
- Cut All Ties With the Suspected Stalker
Make it clear to the stalker once and for all that you want their behavior to stop, then terminate all communication with them. Don’t reply to their calls or text messages and avoid seeing them at all costs. Responding to a possible stalker might increase their unhealthy desire to want to follow you and may eventually prove to be dangerous.
- Open up About Your Concerns to People You Trust
Letting your trusted family members and friends know that you are suspicious about a stalker is crucial. They can help keep you safe, and if anything happens to you, they will be able to instruct the police on where to look. Refusing to open up to anybody about your struggle with a stalker will only isolate you from your loved ones, and this is usually what the stalker wants to happen.
- Do Not Let Your Mobile Phone out of Your Sight
It is really important to always have your phone close by, particularly if you are staying with somebody you suspect might be your stalker. This is due to the fact that a stalker can install software onto your phone to read your emails and text messages, listen into your calls, and access your passwords. Just to be safe, use a very difficult passcode to ensure that your phone is secure.
- Use a Post Office Box Rather Than a Mailbox
It is very easy for a stalker to access your personal details by illegally checking your mail in your mailbox. Make a decision to keep your information more private by signing up for a post office box. From here, do not make the mistake of filing an official address change with the United States Postal Service, but rather inform your trusted family members, friends, and businesses about your new address via phone.
Moreover, do not accept any packages that you did not order for. Such packages might contain harmful or disturbing contents sent by your stalker.
- Keep All Evidence of the Stalking
It is important for you to consider saving texts, voicemails, letters, emails, and any sort of physical evidence you get from your stalker. Document the odd occurrences too. Having evidence will help you a lot when you want to take legal action to resolve the stalking situation. You will have better chances of winning a court case if you have valid physical evidence.
- Avoid Being Alone as Much as Possible
You can ask a friend or family member to accompany you to the grocery store or to run other errands. If you are interested in outdoor activities and physical exercise, get someone you trust to go out with you. Change your daily schedule and travel routines to try and throw off your stalker. You can also make an effort to live with a loved one if you feel unsafe at your home.
- Come up With a Safety Plan
Formulating a safety plan is a crucial step in ensuring maximum safety. Know in advance your short and long-term options, how to reach help in the case of an emergency, and have all the information about resources before you need them.
Your safety plan should be inclusive of provision for an emergency shelter in the event that you have to leave your home suddenly. If you know who your stalker is, it is important for you to look for safe places to live and how to prevent your stalker from knowing your new place of residence.
Have an escape plan. Know how you will leave your house if the stalker comes to your door. Pack a go-bag with essential items such as money, clothes, food and even pepper spray. Have the bag ready always. Notify your family and friends about your escape plan so that they can help you out.
In addition to that, your safety plan should also involve reducing contact with your stalker. You need to tell the person once, and only once via mail, email or a lawyer to cease harassing you and to never communicate with you ever again.