Over the past 16 years that we have been teaching people Krav Maga and personal safety skills, we have had many many people tell us that they are or have been the victim of a stalker.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that 1 in 5 women (1.6 million) and 1 in 13 men (663,800) have experienced stalking during their lifetime (and that is only the reported cases).
Stalking is a pattern of behaviour that causes fear, distress, or harm to another person.
Stalking behaviours may include repeated or unwanted contact such as:
– phone calls
– text messages
– voice messages
– notes, e.g. given by a friend of the respondent or left on the car windscreen,
– messages posted on computer community websites e.g. Facebook etc
– gifts (at home or at work)
– threats of violence, humiliation or abuse
– offensive or humiliating material, e.g. in the letterbox
– being followed either by walking or in a vehicle;
Stalking can be committed by a stranger, a casual acquaintance, or, most commonly, someone you know, such as a former partner or spouse.
The effects of stalking can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. Victims may experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, and feelings of helplessness. In severe cases, stalking can escalate into physical violence or even murder.
If you think you are being stalked, it is important to take action to protect yourself. One of the main steps is to cease all communication with the stalker.
Statistically 6-8 weeks of no communication at all is the minimum time required to discourage a stalker, whom will most likely find another object for their obsession.
ie: If at 5 weeks you give in and contact the person, that minimum period will start again!
Here are some steps you can take:
– Document the stalking behaviour. Keep a record of all contacts, including emails, text messages, and notes about in-person encounters. Record vehicle details, street names where you see the stalker etc.
– Avoid responding to their phone, email or text message. In fact, avoid all communication completely.
– Block the person on any social media apps or dating websites. – If you are using social media, post what you have done, not what you are going to do to avoid the person finding out your location.
– Tell someone you trust about the stalking. It is important to have someone to talk to about what is happening.
– Make safety plans. Identify safe places to go in case of an emergency, and make sure you have access to transportation.
– Pack a bag with important items if you need to leave quickly.
– Be aware of your surroundings. Be cautious of unfamiliar vehicles or people who seem to be following you.
– Change your routine. This can make it more difficult for the stalker to find you.
– Consider installing security measures, such as a security system or peephole on your front door.
– Report the stalking to the Police. It is important to let law enforcement know about the situation, as they can help you get the protection you need.
Remember, you are not alone. Stalking is a serious crime and help is available. If you or someone you know is being stalked, reach out for support and take action to protect yourself.