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How Do You Know Your Being Stalked

Identifying Stalking Behavior Using The SLII Strategies, Surveillance, Life Invasion, Intimidating, And Interference


Adapted from T.K. Logan’s “Connecting the Dots: Advocates,” 2017


Stalking constitutes a distinct crime, entailing unique risks, safety planning considerations, and legal responses. Notably, many victims refrain from explicitly using terms like "stalking" or "fear" to articulate their encounters. Instead, they may express sentiments such as "my ex is bothering me," "an old coworker is being weird," or "my neighbor is harassing me."


Identifying Stalking Behavior Using The SLII Strategies, Surveillance, Life Invasion, Intimidating, And Interference
Identifying Stalking Behavior Using The SLII Strategies, Surveillance, Life Invasion, Intimidating, And Interference

Responses to stalking-induced trauma vary widely, with victims often displaying annoyance, frustration, anger, or even an absence of emotion, as opposed to overt fear.


Recognizing the subtleties of stalking victimization and the potential absence of overt fear is crucial for responders. Effectively assessing risk, contemplating legal avenues, and formulating safety plans hinge on discerning the nuances of victims' experiences.



Stalking behaviors are inherently diverse and can evolve over time. Most stalkers employ a combination of tactics to instill fear in their victims. It becomes imperative for responders to pose targeted questions related to key stalking categories—surveillance, life invasion, intimidation, and interference (SLII)—to comprehensively evaluate whether a victim is undergoing stalking. Importantly, these categories exhibit overlaps and cumulative effects, underscoring the need for a nuanced understanding of the situation.


Screening Questions for Identifying Stalking Behavior:

  • Is the individual following you, monitoring your activities, unexpectedly appearing in your vicinity, or engaging in obsessive communication that raises concerns about your safety?

  • Have you experienced repeated unwanted contact initiated by the individual? This could include persistent phone calls, texts, messages, emails, gifts, or communication through third parties.

  • Has the individual made threats or engaged in actions intended to intimidate you? What specific behaviors have caused fear or alarm?

  • To what extent has the individual directly interfered with your life? Have they assaulted you during incidents of stalking, harassment, or threats? Additionally, have they forcibly prevented you from leaving, held you against your will, caused a significant accident, physically assaulted your friends or family members, or subjected you to serious attacks in other ways?

Key Inquiries Regarding Fear and Safety Concerns:

  1. Have the actions of the offender instilled fear for your safety or the safety of others?

  2. In response to this fear, have you implemented any changes in your life? This could include measures such as installing door locks, cameras, or lights; relocating; altering employment; or adjusting your schedule, route, and/or daily routines.

  3. What specific outcomes are you most apprehensive about occurring?


Stalking Surveillance

Surveillance is the predominant stalking tactic, involving the observation and collection of information about the victim.

Has the offender...

• Tracked your movements?

• Observed you?

• Appeared unexpectedly?

• Examined your mail or discarded items?

• Sought information about you through friends, family, or acquaintances?

• Engaged in obsessive or concerning communication?

• Accessed your accounts, such as social media or online finances?

• Planted a camera, GPS tracker, or other device in your vehicle or home?

• Utilized tracking software on your phone, tablet, or computer to monitor your whereabouts?

• Monitored your online activities?


Life Invasion

Life invasion refers to instances where the offender intrudes into the victim's life without their consent, encompassing both direct and electronic entry into the private sphere, even in public settings.

Has the offender...

• Initiated unwanted contact with you repeatedly (e.g., persistent phone calls, texts, messages, emails)?

• Sent gifts or left items for you without your consent?

• Attempted to establish contact through third parties?

• Spread rumors about you?

• Humiliated you, or attempted to do so, in public?

• Impersonated you online?

• Hacked into your accounts?

• Harassed friends, family members, or other third parties?

• Sent photos of themselves or of you in frequented locations?

• Invaded your property, such as entering your home or vehicle without permission?

• Appeared at locations you frequent, such as your gym, child's daycare, or grocery store?


Intimidating

Context plays a crucial role in stalking cases, as many behaviors take on an intimidating nature when examined within the broader context of stalking behaviors, considering the relationship and history between the victim and offender.


Has the offender...

• Explicitly or implicitly threatened you, either in-person or online?

• Issued threats towards family, friends, pets, or individuals you care about?

• Threatened to cause harm to your property, pets, or sabotage you in other ways?

• Engaged in blackmail against you?

• Threatened to disclose private information about you unless you engage in sexual acts?

• Employed symbolic violence, such as damaging objects, that you interpreted as a threat?

• Threatened or harmed themselves?

• Undertaken actions that made you feel intimidated, frightened, or alarmed?


Interference Through Sabotage or Attack

Stalkers may interfere in a victim’s life in many ways, affecting everything from the victim’s reputation to their employment and/or physical safety. A common and significant consequence is victims losing financial and other resources, which can quickly spiral.


Has the offender…

• significantly and directly interfered with your life?

• damaged your property or stolen from you?

• disrupted your professional and/or social life?

• caused you to have a serious accident?

• meddled in online accounts (social media, finances, etc.)?

• posed as you and created harm?

• forcibly kept you from leaving or held you against your will?

• assaulted you while stalking, harassing, or threatening you?

• assaulted your friends, family, or pets, or seriously attacked you in other ways?

• shared with others and/or posted online private photos of you and/or information about you?


What Should You Do If Your Being Stalked

If you believe you are being stalked, it is crucial to take the situation seriously and prioritize your safety. Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this distressing situation:


Trust Your Instincts:

If you feel uneasy or threatened, trust your instincts. Take any signs of stalking seriously and don't dismiss your feelings.

Document Incidents:

Keep a detailed record of any incidents, including dates, times, locations, and descriptions of the stalker's actions. Take photos or videos if it is safe to do so.

Notify Authorities:

Report the stalking to law enforcement as soon as possible. Provide them with the documented evidence you have gathered. In some cases, obtaining a restraining order may be necessary.

Inform Friends and Family:

Share the situation with trusted friends, family members, and colleagues. Inform them about the stalking incidents and provide them with your emergency contact information.

Secure Your Home:

Evaluate and enhance the security of your home. Consider changing locks, installing security systems, and ensuring that all windows and doors are secure.

Alter Your Routine:

Vary your daily routine, including the routes you take to work or other regular activities. This can make it more challenging for the stalker to predict your movements.

Keep Your Personal Information Private:

Be cautious about sharing personal information on social media or in public spaces. Review and adjust your privacy settings to limit access to your information.

Screen Calls and Messages:

Screen calls and messages, and do not engage with the stalker. Keep evidence of any communication they attempt.

Seek Support:

Reach out to support organizations, such as local domestic violence shelters or victim assistance programs. They can provide guidance, resources, and emotional support.

Consider Obtaining a Restraining Order:

Consult with law enforcement and legal professionals about obtaining a restraining order against the stalker. This legal document can provide an additional layer of protection.

Stay Vigilant:

Be vigilant in public spaces and aware of your surroundings. If you notice someone following you or exhibiting suspicious behavior, seek help immediately.

Professional Counseling:

Consider seeking counseling or therapy to cope with the emotional impact of being stalked. A mental health professional can provide guidance on managing stress and fear.

Remember that your safety is the top priority.


If you ever feel immediate danger, do not hesitate to call emergency services. It's important to work with law enforcement and support organizations to address the situation effectively. Stalking is a serious crime, and taking proactive steps can help protect yourself and bring the perpetrator to justice.


Violence Prevention and Conflict Management Resources

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Training (CVPSD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based training in violence prevention and self-defense. With a focus on unbiased program development, CVPSD offers customized programs to individuals and organizations, equipping them with the tools to enhance personal safety and contribute to violence prevention in their communities. The Center reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.


Citations

  • Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N. (2001). Stalking: Its Role in Serious Domestic Violence Cases, Executive Summary. Center for Policy Research: Denver, CO.

  • Mohandie, K., Meloy, J.R., McGowan, M.G., & Williams, J. (2006). The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 51(1), 147-155.

  • Logan, T.K. & Walker, R. (2017). Stalking: A Multidimensional Framework for Assessment and Safety Planning. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 18(2): 200-222.

  • Kelly, K. (2020, March 24). Sinister stalker bugged his ex-girlfriend's car and turned up on her new boyfriend's doorstep. The Shields Gazette.

  • Logan, T.K. & Walker, R. (2017). Stalking: A Multidimensional Framework for Assessment and Safety Planning. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 18(2): 200-222.

  • Greenberg, A. (2017 Jan 31). Spoofed Grindr Accounts turned One Man’s Life Into a ‘Living Hell.’ Wired Magazine.


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