When you think of a stalker, you might envision a person hiding in the shadows. You might think about a person following you home from the store, perhaps even looking in the windows. Stalkers often do these things, but it does not stop at peeping and following. Each year, about 3.4 million individuals are stalked. There are many subtle (and not-so-subtle) signs that stalking is occurring, but many miss the clues. Knowing these characteristics of stalkers can help you determine whether the individual harassing you is a potentially dangerous stalker from whom you need protection.
Stalkers may leave gifts and/or notes.
At first, the notes and gifts might seem pleasant. However, they may begin to take on sexual or threatening overtones, leaving the recipient feeling strange. These notes may allude to a future, even if the recipient has never indicated that the feelings were mutual. If the recipient tries to turn the stalker away, the interactions may become more threatening.
Stalkers often need constant communication.
The stalker wants the victim to know that he or she is always watching, and they may want the victim to know that there is no chance of regaining control or of finding privacy. When the victim pulls away at all, the stalker may try to garner control in any way possible.
Stalkers may know more than you think.
There could be more surveillance on the target's daily life than he or she could ever imagine. Stalkers often keep extensive records and logs of activity, monitoring the minute details of the victim's day. They could keep track of everything from the target's shirt color to online user names. You should be alarmed if the individual harassing you mentions insignificant details that you might not even remember.
Stalkers may not threaten violence until late into the stalking.
Stalking does not always begin with violent threats, and sometimes there are no threats at all. The stalker may resort to violence out of nowhere. Additionally, physical violence is not the only outlet for a stalker. The emotional and psychological violence inflicted by stalkers are very real.
Stalkers often use the legal system to their advantage.
If a stalker is desperate to make contact or exert control, he or she may file a lawsuit or maybe even a restraining order against the victim. Filing a restraining order may seem counter-intuitive, but it actually acts as another tactic for harassment and manipulation, and it can be difficult to provide a solid defense. For instance, a co-worker who is stalking you may file a restraining order (or get you fired) to keep you away from work if you have filed a complaint about their behavior. A professional lawyer, however, like those at Malcolm Stewart Douglas Atty, can help victims compile enough evidence to prove their innocence
Stalking does not always end with stalking the victim.
Stalkers may reach out to friends and family members, possibly lying to obtain access to the target's life. In fact, some stalkers actually are family members or friends. About 75% of stalking victims are acquainted with their stalkers. The stalker may also interact with or harass pets and co-workers. The victim might notice burglary and other crimes that aren't so petty. For this reason, it is important that victims get police help as soon as they suspect somebody is stalking them.