What is stalking and how to protect yourself from it

Stalking (from English to stalk – to stalk) is a form of violent behavior that includes intrusive attention to another person, spying on him, threats and harassment.

Victims experience more than just discomfort, but fear. Exactly thisthinka distinctive feature of stalking. He always looks threatening.

In some western countries, for example Great Britain and USAstalking is considered a felony. Moreover, it is very common. So, according to American data, every sixth woman and every seventeenth man at least once in a lifetimefaced with the pursuit.

How to understand that this is stalking

There is no definite answer. The devil, as usual, is in the details. Here are some examples of how you canto look like
real stalking.

1. Persistent calls and messages

It’s okay to call your loved one or write to the person you want to keep in touch with. It’s not okay to keep pushing calls and messages, even though you’ve made it clear that you have no intention of answering.

If you are afraid to pick up the phone when you see an unfamiliar number, or started avoiding instant messengers , then you are definitely faced with psychological abuse.

2. Physical harassment

It’s one thing to accidentally meet the person you are avoiding. And it is quite another when there are so many such collisions that what is happening ceases to look like a coincidence.

If you constantly see the stalker for weeks, sometimes in a store, then in your favorite cafe, then in a cinema, then on a bench near your house, this is most likely stalking.

3. Surveillance in social networks

The person has clicked through all of your photos, including the first one that was taken a million years ago. I made friends with your friends. Joined groups of which you are a member. Writes five comments to any of your posts. Repost even the most insignificant messages like “I woke up, good morning, friends!”.

Or otherwise: his comments are intrusive, sarcastic. He does not miss the opportunity to pry you for any reason and literally hunts for your messages in different groups and feed. This behavior should be alarming.

4. Dissemination of false information

For example, a stalker told your partner that you are cheating on him. To your parents – that you have committed a crime, addicted to drugs, or taken out a huge loan.

The boss, friends, neighbors – each of them at some point may find out nasty things about you or something that will undermine your reputation. Spreading such rumors is also stalking.

5. Close attention to the details of privacy

This is when it is discovered that the person knows much more about you than you would like. For example, he is aware of your purchases, relationships with other people and is even aware of what you eat for breakfast and what color you wear underwear.

If you have not shared such details on social networks and did not share them with friends, such awareness speaks of surveillance.

6. Filming without permission

A classic example: you are regularly sent your photos or videos taken secretly without permission. Or they post such pictures and videos on social networks.

If you clearly told a person that you are against such shooting, but he does not stop, this is stalking.

7. Uninvited and obsessive sweeping gestures

A million scarlet roses is just such a gesture. He is beautiful only in songs and fairy tales. Such a large-scale gift puts the addressee in a position of obligation: “A person is ready for anything for you, but what are you? Heartless! ”

Broad gestures can be different. For example, you are given restaurant meals every day because someone thinks you are eating the wrong food. Or every evening they stand guard in the car under the office to give you a ride home. Or they give expensive gifts, emphasizing their value. Or they endlessly write poems and odes in your honor.

Such actions may seem like mere displays of attention. But when stalking, they are united by one thing: the addressee did not ask for such a thing, and moreover, what is happening is unpleasant for him. In this case, grand gestures become a form of psychological violence, a way to induce guilt in the addressee and force him to agree to something.

8. Communication through other people

Let’s say you blocked a stalker on social networks, blacklisted his mail, and changed his phone number. But when stalking, a person will not give up trying to contact you and will transmit messages, threats and confessions through your friends or relatives.

9. Damage to your property

Spray paint on a car or cut the upholstery on the front door is also stalking.

10. Threats of death or suicide

Stalkers often choose this move in order to force the victim to agree to communicate or renew the relationship. As soon as you say “if you don’t…, I will kill myself (or you)”, you can drop all doubts: this is stalking.

How to stop a stalker using the law

In some countries, for example in the already mentioned USA and Great Britain, there is an understandable and working mechanism. A person who believes that he has become a victim of stalking goes to the police and then to the court. He considers the evidence provided – for example, threatening letters, screenshots from social networks, eyewitness accounts of stalking – and issues a so-called protective order.

This document prohibitsstalker to approach the victim. Violation of the requirement is qualified as a crime against the state, and the persecutor gets serious problems with the law – up to and including imprisonment.

There is no separate article for stalking in the Russian Federation. Therefore, stopping the pursuer is much more difficult. Nevertheless, in some cases it is possible: each individual action of the stalker is likely to violate the existing articles of the Criminal Code.

If you are a victim of harassment, your job is to document each episode as much as possible and write a statement to the police.

For example, if a stalker spreads false information about you, save emails, make screenshots of messages and attach them to your libel statement. In accordance with Article 128.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, thispunished a fine of up to 500 thousand rubles or in the amount of wages for up to six months or compulsory work lasting up to 160 hours.

The same applies to threats to life and health: this is Article 119 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and punishment in this case can to be from compulsory labor for up to 480 hours to imprisonment for up to two years.

Surveillance, including through social networks, and the dissemination of information that constitutes a personal or family secret can be classified as a violation of privacy (Article 137 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Such a crimepunished a fine of up to 200 thousand rubles, or in the amount of a salary for up to 18 months, or even imprisonment for up to two years.

It is better to consult a lawyer about how to write a complaint to the police correctly and how to file it. The more often you go to the police, the higher the chance that a stalker will one day find himself accused under a number of criminal articles.

What to do if you are a victim of stalking

The police car is often clumsy. Therefore, in addition to contacting the police, it is worth taking care of security yourself. That’s whatadvise experts from the American Resource Center for the Persecuted.

1. Trust your feelings

Not cheating yourself is a bad recommendation. If the situation seems threatening to you, chances are it is. Try to do everything to feel safe: close your home, seek help from family and friends. And by no means underestimate the magnitude of the danger.

2. Take Threats Seriously

If someone promises to kill you, there is a risk that he is not joking or exaggerating. The danger is even greater if the threat sounds at an emotionally difficult moment, such as when you are trying to end a relationship. Be especially careful and watch your safety.

3. Set boundaries

Stop communicating, block the stalker on social networks and in no case give in to persuasion to clarify the relationship with him and “disperse in a good way.”

Talking to a stalker will only convince him that stalking works. And the person will continue to press on you with redoubled zeal.

4. Tell your loved ones about the situation

These can be relatives, friends, colleagues, or teachers. If possible, share with them photos of the stalker and his car. Ask people you know to call you regularly and contact the police if you suddenly stop picking up the phone.

5. Retain Evidence Where Possible

Do not delete the correspondence , record conversations on a dictaphone and film the pursuer if he tries to get close to you or is guarding near the house. Be sure to record the date, time and location of each incident. All this will come in handy when you file a report with the police. In addition, such evidence will help create a clear picture of what is happening for your family and friends.

6. Find a safe place for emergencies

This could be a friend’s house, a police station, a domestic violence center, or a public place that you know is safe – for example, because there are many police officers there.

Go there if the pursuer is being particularly aggressive: returning home in such cases is a dangerous option.

7. Don’t walk alone

Find a friend or girlfriend who can accompany you on your run, walking around town, or commuting to work.

8. Follow the rules of safety on the Internet

Do not post personal information on social networks, do not write about your movements and plans. If a stalker terrorizes you online, consider switching accounts .

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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