More than 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men will be stalked in their lifetimes.
Phone calls, text messages, following you, showing up uninvited, spreading rumors, hacking accounts, threatening you, harming animals, property damage, and filming you without consent.
ARE YOU BEING STALKED?
Stalking is a series of actions that make you feel afraid, distressed, or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
You may be a victim of stalking.
“Going to work, attending your kids activities, going out for the evening… these things seem routine. For me, they’re terrifying because I never know what he will do or when he will show up.” —Stalking Survivor
WHO ARE STALKERS?
Most stalkers target people they know. Many stalkers commit this crime against people who they’ve dated/been romantically involved with. Stalkers may also be acquaintances, family members, and/or strangers.
WHAT DO STALKERS DO?
Most stalkers use multiple tactics to scare their victims. These behaviors may include (but are not limited to):
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BE SAFE?
It can be helpful to think of strategies to help keep yourself and loved ones safe. You may want to:
Stalking is not your fault and you cannot control the stalker’s behavior.
Impact of Stalking
Stalking can have serious implications on the victim’s mental health. Victims of stalking are more likely to develop depression, sleeping problems, and lower levels of mental and emotional well-being than those who are not victims of stalking.
Many victims daily lives are also negatively affected by being stalked. Good Therapy found that one in five people change some element of their daily routine, 1 in 6 people change their phone number, 1 in 7 people move out of fear after being stalked, and 1 in 8 employed victims are impacted at their jobs or lose time at work.
Supporting Loved Ones Who Are Experiencing Stalking
Most victims of stalking talk to a friend, family member, or someone else they know and trust about the situation before pursuing any sort of professional or legal help. If a stalking victim talks to you, your response makes a huge difference in if they feel validated and/or seek help.
These tips can help you respond appropriately:
Believe and validate victims.
Focus on the offender’s actions, not the victim’s responses.
Support the victim and encourage them to seek help and document the stalking.
Respect the victim’s privacy.
STALKING SAFETY STRATEGIES
Stalkers can be unpredictable and dangerous. Whether through in-person or through the use of technology, stalkers use a variety of strategies to invade the lives of their victims. Most stalkers use multiple tactics and can escalate their behavior(s) at any time. You have no control over the stalker’s behavior and are not responsible for what they do. However, it can be useful to think of steps you might take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. This process is called safety planning.
The guidance below is intended for general informational purposes only and is not designed to replace a personalized safety plan created with the assistance of a professional. The suggestions below are also not exhaustive. You are the expert on your own life and you know best what options might be possible or feasible.
Safety Planning: Basic Considerations
General Safety Strategies – Consider:
Safety Planning: Stopping Communication with the Stalker
Consider cutting off any and all communication with the stalker. Many stalkers misinterpret any contact (even negative contact) as encouragement. Some victims feel that they should ensure the stalker knows that the contact is unwanted. If that is true for your situation, you may consider telling the stalker once – and only once – that you do not want any contact. After that, it is important to consider cutting all ties with the stalker, including not answering messages or calls.
Some examples of how to express your desire for no contact include:
While disengagement is advisable, it is not always possible or realistic to cease all communication. Some victims feel safer by communicating with their stalkers to gain information on the stalker’s mood and plans. Some victims must maintain contact with their stalker due to shared custody of their children. It is important to understand how continued contact can impact an order of protection or a criminal case, so please discuss this with the professional who is assisting you with your safety planning.
• Follow you to, from or around the location
• Contact colleagues about you
• Show up
• Contact you by phone, text or e-mail while you are at work/ school
• Give a picture of the stalker to security and friends at work and school.
• Consider changing routes to and from work/school
• Adjust hours (if possible)
• Have a colleague or security guard walk you to your car/ transportation
• Make sure your school/work knows not to provide your contact information
• If you have a protective order against the stalker, keep a copy of your protective order with you AND provide a copy to security and/or other officials at your work/school
• Save any voicemails, text messages and e-mails
• Work with building security to acquire any records/logs of the stalker being present on campus/at work
• Follow you to, from or around your home
• Invade your home
• Damage your property
• Hack into wireless networks or home devices
• Disconnect power/cable/ internet service
• Send gifts or mail
• Install cameras to monitor you
• Inform neighbors and/ or apartment managers about the situation. Provide a photo/description of the stalker as well as a photo of the stalker’s vehicle.
• Pack a bag with important items in case you need to leave quickly.
• Identify escape routes out of your house. Teach them to your children.
• Change locks and upgrade home security system, if possible
• Consider installing your own camera (depending on your state law) to capture evidence of the stalker’s behaviors.
• Photograph evidence of property damage
• Constantly contact their victim: phone calls, text messages, online messages
• Track/monitor through GPS, SpyWare and/or social media
• Impersonate victims online (for example, creating fake profiles)
• Hack into accounts
• Share private or personal images with others
• Film or photograph the victim without their consent
• Update passwords to accounts frequently
• Change answers to your security questions so that the stalker is not able to reset your password or gain access to the account
• Adjust default settings on phone, apps and websites so that your location is not automatically shared
• Do an internet search on your name to make sure none of your personal information is posted by others. If you find information posted about you, notify the site’s webmaster immediately and request that the information be removed.
• Don’t give out your online identification information If the stalker has had access to your phone or computer, they may be monitoring what you do via Spyware, key logging software or other means. In this case, a stalker can see any changes that you make.
You may want to:
• Use another, safer device (for example, a friend’s phone, the computer at a library)
• Acquire a new device (if feasible)
• Take screenshots of all text or internet communications with the stalker. Consider apps that can assist you in taking screenshots of long text conversations.
• Get a second camera to capture messages and/or photos that disappear or might notify the sender when a screenshot is taken
• Get phone records from your phone company to demonstrate frequent calls
• Keep track of the stalker’s behaviors by writing down every incident in this Documentation Log
STALKING LAWS IN JAPAN
Japan has adopted the Anti-stalking Act which covers, “Making silent calls, or calling, transmitting using a fax machine or sending text messages through any text messaging service persistently despite his/her rejections” …. “against a person, his/her spouse, lineal blood relatives or relatives living together, or any person who has a close relationship in social life with him/her for the purpose of satisfying one’s affection, including romantic feelings, toward any person or fulfilling a grudge when the said affection is unrequited.” Other provisions of the Penal Code on intimidation (article 222(19)), compulsion (223(1)), defamation (230(1) or insults (231) may also be applied according to the Council of Europe Portal.
In Japan, stalking is listed as a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment with work and fines. It can be concluded that almost all victims receive additional guidance, however, this has been criticized as insufficient. Statistical studies with a wider scope should be introduced, while the law should be revised regularly and expanded to include clinical therapy for perpetrators (Japan’s Policy Against the Crime of Stalking).
“Hoittoite!” Back off!
“Chikan da!” groper/pervert!
“Keisatsu o yonde!” Call the police!
“Yamete!” Stop it!
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