Stalking is something that affects men, women and even children all over the world. Something that I myself, and no doubt many of you have faced. Sometimes subtle and at other times frightening, stalking is a complex crime. One which often leaves an impact on victims for many years after the events.
- Women are at a higher risk of being stalked than men.
- 3 out of 4 people know their stalker to some extent
- 18 – 30-year-olds are the age group most likely to be targeted by cyberstalkers
- 46% of stalking victims report having to deal with their stalker at least once a week
- Those who have been divorced or separated are also at high risk of being stalked
The range of behaviours which stalking encompasses are many. However many of them share a common denominator in that they can be either considered controlling or vengeful behaviour. Often the intent is to control or have revenge upon the victim.
In my opinion, this also includes acts of so-called “undying love” which is something many stalkers will call as reason behind their behavioural patterns.
Some of the most commonly reported behaviour reported by victims of stalking (according to the Action Against Stalking site) includes:
- Following or spying
- Hacking – email, social media or computers/devices
- Installing malware or spyware on computers/devices
- Cyberstalking & online bullying
- Finding excuses to hang about victim’s places of work, regular social haunts or home
- Making friends with the victim’s family in an attempt to get closer and find out more information.
- Threatening behaviour – either towards their victim, the victim’s family, friends or pets.
- Spreading rumours about their victims
- Repeatedly contacting victims by email, text, phone call or otherwise
- Invasion of personal space
Taking a Closer Look
So just what is going on here? Why on earth would someone deliberately put another human through such stress? Well, the short answer here is that often they don’t see anything wrong with what they are doing. Simply, they are blind to the damage and pain they are causing. They will do anything to be close to the object of their desire, regardless of the fact their feelings are not returned.
In my own personal experience with these people, they feel that they can simply grind you down until you return their affections. Illogical, but that seems to be a common way of thinking. Another shared and misguided concept is one of ownership. They either believe they own you or wish to make it so. Neither of which is an acceptable way of thinking, if you ask me. People belong to no one. Only objects can be owned.
The infatuation of these individuals with poor social skills drives them to believe they are acting in your best interests. This pain, anxiety and fear they have caused you – all for your own good. I know, it’s a hard thing to wrap your head around.
Often stalkers will attempt to befriend your closest friends and family. Worming their way into your daily life and social circle. Using their new contacts and publicly available records (such as social media accounts) the stalker gathers as much information about their victim as possible. The intent here is blackmail or manipulation.
Impact on Victims
Speaking from personal experience, being stalked leaves you less trusting in general.
My own stalkers were people known to me, some of which forced themselves into my life. One of my stalkers went to the extent of apparently hiring a private investigator to find out where I lived. Realising that some of these people would never willingly let me go, I moved to a different city. A larger one, which would offer me more anonymity. I got a new phone number, new email addresses and was very selective who I gave my details out to.
Although it has been many years since I have had to face any of my old stalkers, I still live in fear. Afraid that they will somehow find me again. I am wary of new people who seem overly friendly too quickly. If you’re too eager with me, alarm bells ring. In fact, let’s just call it huge trust issues. It’s a rarity for me to tell people online any traceable details about myself. Unexpected visits from anyone set me into a panic (just call me in advance). I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
Through the thoughtless, selfish actions of people demanding to own me, I have been left with numerous issues and fears. They don’t go away, however, I have found these easier to compensate for as the years pass. My stalker detection systems are always fully engaged now, aware that type of person is out there.
If any of the issues I have discussed in my article have affected you, please consider visiting some of the following helpful sites. Any of our readers who have more information on helplines, support groups or useful sites for victims, please get in touch.
Stalking Awareness – resources (lots of information & links on this page)
Safe Horizon (USA)
Better India (Report Line Phone Numbers)
Cybercrime Reporting (Pakistan)