Stalking: It doesn’t just happen to celebrities. According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, “At some point in their lives, 15.2 percent of women and 5.7 percent of men have experienced stalking victimization.”
Stalking is a serious crime that goes “largely unreported”, says the NCVS.
Recently, a customer emailed us at BeenVerified about her harrowing experience with a stalker.
Here is part of what she said:
“A few years ago, I met a man at my office building who was trying to get me involved in his multilevel marketing business. I was interested, so we had lunch a few times and became friends. We even connected on social media. Soon after, I noticed every time I left work, he would be walking out of the building at the same time. I shrugged it off as a coincidence. Soon, he got really into what I was doing.”
“At first I thought this guy had a serious crush on me, but then realized that he is kind of creepy. But he was married with two kids, and big in his church. I didn’t expect that I found out. I decided to look him up on BeenVerified, not expecting to find anything. Well, to my surprise, he was convicted of stalking SEVERAL times. This scared the crap out of me. I blocked him on all social media and filed a complaint at his place of work.”
Here is a scary statistic: According to the NCVS, “Most stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. Among female victims, 60.8 percent were stalked by an intimate partner, and only 16.2 percent were stalked by a stranger.”
Don’t forget about cyberstalking. Stalkers are keen to using technology to pursue their victims. This customer recalled logging into Facebook at odd hours and how “he would message me within a few seconds, like he was waiting for me (every single time).” Even when she “asked him to stop,” he didn’t. “He apologized and stopped for a while. Then I would coincidentally run into him at the store or (elsewhere), or I’d be driving down the street and he would be driving right behind me.”
This true story highlights some of the things stalkers do, such as and including:
- Follows you and shows up where you are
- Drives by or hangs out wherever you may be
- Calls or messages you repeatedly
- Sends unwanted gifts, messages, etc.
- Tracks you using GPS
- Threatens you, your family, or anyone you know or care about
- Damages your property or possessions
If you’re being stalked, there are several things you can do to increase your safety.
- Don’t communicate with the stalker
- Change your routine or have someone go with you
- Contact a crisis hotline or victim services agency
- Contact the police or get a court order to keep the stalker at bay
- Tell your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors about the stalking and ask for emotional support
- Call 911 if you are in immediate danger
It’s extremely fortunate that this customer found out how potentially dangerous her situation was and took action to distance herself from the threat.
Remember: Don’t take crushes lightly.