It is estimated that, on average, more than one million people are victims of stalking every year. While the majority of victims are women, there is also a high rate of men being stalked.
In many cases, the stalker is someone you know — someone you were in a romantic relationship with or currently are seeing, a co-worker or even a casual acquaintance. Stalkers can also be complete strangers.
Stalking can come in many forms — ranging from willful, unwarranted and repetitive contact to following someone or harassing them. In more extreme case, it can include physical threats or assault.
Many victims will be unsure or scared when it comes to responding to a stalker. Some may try engaging or reasoning with the stalker in hopes of deterring them in a more civil manner, while others may confront them directly.
In any situation, it is imperative to know how to stop a stalker while still ensuring your personal safety.
6 Tips On How To Stop A Stalker
1. Explicitly Tell Your Stalker Once to Stop Contacting You
The first step may be daunting but once you have done this, you have clearly defined your boundaries. Thereafter it is imperative that you cut off all communication with them. Any kind of engagement or response could reinforce or encourage the stalker’s actions.
2. Always Be Prepared
In many cases, stalkers may not respect your wishes, so it is vital you keep your cell phone with you at all times. Keep numbers of trusted friends, family members and the local police department on speed dial. If you are in imminent danger and unsure of what to do about a stalker, call the police immediately.
3. Understand that Stalking is Illegal
It is normal for you to want to solve this problem on your own, but support is always available. Trust your instincts. If you ever feel uncomfortable, even if nothing serious is happening at that moment, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or law enforcement.
You are not responsible for protecting anyone except yourself. Knowing how to stop a stalker is not easy, but you are not alone! Statistics show that 1 in 19 men and 1 in 6 women have been stalked during their lifetime, so it is not something to be ashamed of, and it is therefore crucial to know how to stop a stalker.
4. Create a Safety Plan
Another key step in knowing how to stop a stalker is considering the worst-case scenario and having a safety plan in place. Enhancing your home security and changing your locks are two initial steps you may want to take.
Thinking through and having a safety plan will help you act quickly if you assess that a particular situation may be dangerous. A safety plan should include:
- The quickest and safest way to exit your home or workplace (and other places you frequent)
- Having a list of go-to people to call in an emergency
- Knowing the location of the nearest police station(s) around you
If you are lost and unsure of how to stop a stalker, whether in a moderate or extreme case, it is advisable to seek assistance from trained law enforcement.
5. Ensure Digital Safety
Technology has become a key tool used by stalkers/ If you are being stalked online, through text messaging, email, or phone calls there are important steps you can take including:
- Blocking the phone number
- Blocking and blacklisting their email
- Blocking them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and any other social media platforms
- Setting your social media accounts to private
- Changing your passwords
Another important step you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to stalking is to be aware of what information you are sharing on the internet and on which social media platforms.
Ensure all your online profiles have the highest security settings and limited personal information, as stalkers tend to be extremely resourceful, especially regarding technology.
6. Keep Records of Any Contact Made by Your Stalker
One of the most important steps in the process of stopping a stalker is documenting any encounters, or evidence you have about your stalker by:
- Recording and saving all written or verbal communication
- Documenting details of any situations where physical contact was made
- Collecting any ‘gifts’ given or sent to you
- Taking pictures of any damage to your property
- Documenting any attempted or actual contact made with your friends or family
It can be easy to underestimate the threat of a stalker. However, many victims have later stated that they should have taken the situation more seriously.
By documenting everything related to the stalker, you are providing law enforcement officials with potential evidence. Stalking is a serious criminal offense. Understanding how to take action to stop a stalker can be critical to your safety.
You do not deserve to be intimidated, harassed or stalked by anyone. Support and help will always be available to you if you reach out.