TDVAM and Stalking
It’s common to hear things like “Oh, I totally stalked his Instagram” and we see lots of examples in movies and on TV of unwanted grand romantic gestures. How much do you know about stalking? The more you know about it, the more you’ll notice behaviors before they escalate, and you can take steps to protect yourself. As part of Teen Dating Violence awareness Month, we’re shedding a light on stalking.
According to the DOJ, Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or other action directed at a specific person that makes them afraid. This can be in person, or online or both.
Stalking behaviors include:
- showing up at places you go- stalkers may use your photos, geo-tags, or YOUR friends photos/geotags to find you
- sending you unwanted gifts
- calling/texting/social media messaging repeatedly
- Sending unwanted sexts, or other sexually explicit messages
- Posting about you on social media
- creating a website about you
- stealing or damaging things that belong to you
- Making threats or sending threats to friends and family
Getting love notes left on your car may seem cute, romantic, or harmless to others, but if you don’t want the notes, you may feel scared and angry and alone.
Stalkers can be people we know casually- 85% of stalking victims know their stalkers. Sometimes, former OR CURRENT partners exhibit stalking behaviors. Nearly 2/3 of stalkers make contact with their victims ONCE A WEEK, or even daily, using multiple methods. While girls are more likely to be victims of stalking, both boys and girls can be stalkers or be stalked.
If your partner exhibits stalking behaviors, the relationship may be unhealthy or even abusive. It is not your fault.
If you are being stalked, you may feel: helpless, anxious, depressed. You may have difficultly sleeping. You may feel trapped. You may feel isolated, because other people don’t understand why you’re afraid.
If someone is stalking you, it is not your fault. Please try to get help from a trusted adult, or even the police. Stalking is a crime in every state.
Try to avoid the person stalking you, which can be difficult if it is a classmate. Make it clear that you do not want to talk to them. Do not respond to any further communication- and, as painful as it can be, keep all notes, gifts, and screenshot AND PRINT any texts or social media posts in case they are needed by police or your school officials. Turn off your location settings on social media posts and inform your close friends to do the same. If behaviors increase or turn into threats, call your local police.
Unsure if a behavior you’re experiencing is stalking? Check out this helpful download from the Stalking Resource Center.
Related reading and watching: