Many people think stalking is a victimless crime, but women are disproportionally impacted by stalking. Stalking is a very troubling crime, and when you review the statistics, you realize how problematic the issue is in our country. The percentage of women impacted by this crime illuminates a serious problem. Studies have shown that 48.6% of women killed by a significant other were dating that person. Stalking is just the tip of the iceberg. When a person is stalked, it’s usually accompanied by other forms of violence. Almost all women who survived severe assault were stalked before the crime turned violent.
Domestic violence isn’t always characterized by physical violence. Stalking is frequently linked to domestic violence, and it’s a traumatizing form of intimidation. Stalking is not always an obvious crime, but if someone meets these criteria, they are likely a stalker:
- Harassment in the form of phone calls or emails
- Surveillance, following a person or spying on them
- Appearing at a person’s place of work or home without permission
4 Signs You Have a Stalker
While stalking charges are not always connected to domestic violence, the two crimes are regularly found together. When a couple separates, and there is a history of domestic violence and intimidation in the relationship, stalking is a tool used to continue unsolicited attention from an abuser.
- A Person Regularly Shows Up Uninvited at Your Location: If you find that you’re consistently running into a person you’re actively avoiding, then you should keep a note of how often these chance meetings happen. While this may be a coincidence, it may also show the beginnings of stalking behavior. A person who shows up at several places you frequent is likely intentional. But it is important to recognize that it’s not usual for a person to show up at your favorite coffee shop every morning. It’s more concerning if a person you’re avoiding repeatedly shows up at many different places you go – especially if these places are outside your routine.
- You Think Someone is Watching: Is there a car regularly parked outside your home? Have you seen a person following you? Your stalker could be following you, or they could have you surveilled by a third party. A stalker who is watching your movements can easily show up uninvited to your location. A stalker could be watching you and collecting information about your movements, visitors, and your general schedule. They could be collecting this information to make it easier to show up at places they could come into contact with you.
- Harassing Phone Calls: A steady stream of harassing phone calls from someone you aren’t in a relationship with or working towards building a friendship can be a sign of a problem. Harassing phone calls don’t have to ever lead to a conversation. The simple act of repetitive calling is a form of harassment. If the person on the other end of the phone is calling but not speaking or calling and yelling, it’s best to keep a record of the time of day and frequency as evidence for law enforcement. You are certainly within your rights to ask the person to leave you alone and to stop calling, but don’t feel obligated to speak to them.
- Forced or Manipulative Interaction: As in the previous example, a stalker will try to force interaction, but you are certainly within your right to refuse to engage. They will likely begin reaching out in small ways and increase their efforts over time. Whether it’s a phone call or showing up at your favorite store or coffee spot, many of their tactics will seem silly and harmless but be careful not to be drawn into manipulations meant to create opportunities for interaction. This is not a sign of healthy relationship building, so if a partner, friend, or acquaintance is beginning to show any of these signs, be careful.
If you need help fighting a stalker or you have a domestic violence case, then one of the attorneys from Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. would be happy to answer any of your questions. Call us at (727) 245-9009 or reach out to us online right now.