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Is Someone Following You? Top Signs You May Be a Victim of Stalking

Updated: Apr 6

Stalking is a serious and distressing issue that can affect individuals from all walks of life. Recognizing the signs of stalking is crucial for personal safety and well-being. In this article, we'll explore the various indicators that may suggest you are being stalked and provide insights into what actions you can take to protect yourself.

Unwanted Attention:

One of the earliest signs of stalking is the persistent and unwanted attention from an individual. This could manifest as frequent and unexpected appearances in places you frequent, such as your workplace, home, or social gatherings.

Top Signs You May Be a Victim of Stalking
Top Signs You May Be a Victim of Stalking

Excessive Communication:

Stalkers often engage in excessive communication through various channels, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media. Pay attention to an increase in unsolicited and intrusive messages that make you feel uncomfortable.

Surveillance and Following:

If you notice someone consistently following you or if you have a sense of being under surveillance, it may be indicative of stalking. This could happen in person or through technological means, such as GPS tracking on your phone.

Unwanted Gifts or Items:

Stalkers may attempt to establish a connection by sending unwanted gifts or leaving items for you. These gestures, while seemingly harmless, can be a sign of obsessive behavior and an attempt to intrude into your personal space.

Manipulative Behavior:

Stalkers often employ manipulative tactics to control and instill fear in their victims. This may include spreading false rumors, trying to isolate you from friends and family, or using emotional manipulation to gain control over your life.

Online Harassment:

In today's digital age, stalking can extend into the online realm. If you experience persistent online harassment, such as cyberbullying, doxxing, or the creation of fake profiles to monitor your activities, it's essential to take it seriously.

Vandalism or Property Damage:

Stalkers may escalate their behavior by vandalizing your property or engaging in acts of sabotage. If you notice damage to your belongings or property, it could be a sign of a more aggressive form of stalking.

What to Do If You Suspect Stalking:

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 Everything:

Keep a detailed record of incidents, including dates, times, locations, and descriptions. This documentation can be valuable if you need to involve law enforcement later.

Inform Trusted Individuals:

Share your concerns with friends, family, or colleagues. Having a support system in place is crucial, and they can help you stay vigilant and provide emotional support.

Contact Law Enforcement:

If you believe you are being stalked, contact your local law enforcement agency. Provide them with the documented evidence and seek their guidance on obtaining a restraining order if necessary.

Enhance Personal Security:

Take steps to enhance your personal security, such as changing locks, varying your routine, and securing your online presence.

Who Falls Victim to Stalking?

In 2019, a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) revealed that approximately 1.3% of Americans aged 16 and older (equivalent to 3.4 million individuals) experienced stalking. The most commonly reported traditional stalking behaviors involved the offender following and observing the victim. When it came to technology-related stalking, unwanted phone calls, voice or text messages, as well as emails and Internet messages were the prevalent methods.

Is Someone Following You? Top Signs You May Be a Victim of Stalking
Is Someone Following You? Top Signs You May Be a Victim of Stalking

While there was a decline in the percentage of people experiencing stalking from 2016 (1.5%) to 2019 (1.3%), women remained victims of stalking more than twice as often as men. Notably, the data indicate that a majority of stalking victims are acquainted with their stalkers.

Within the adult demographic, individuals aged 18 to 24 face the highest rates of stalking, particularly placing students on college and university campuses at elevated risk. Research indicates that most college students are stalked by someone familiar, often a fellow student. Higher education institutions that grasp the dynamics of stalking can provide support to victims and enforce accountability for stalkers through campus programs and thorough investigations.

Despite the prevalence of stalking, only 29% of victims reported their victimization to the police in 2019. Among those who chose not to report the crime, the most common reason cited was a perception that it wasn't deemed important enough to warrant reporting.

Recognizing the signs of stalking is essential for taking proactive steps to protect yourself. Trust your instincts, document incidents, and seek support from friends, family, and law enforcement. No one should have to endure the distress of being stalked, and by being aware and proactive, you can empower yourself to address the situation and safeguard your well-being.

What help is there for victims of stalking?

Violence Prevention and Self Defense Resources

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self Defense (CVPSD) is a non profit 501(C)(3) with a mission to stop violence by educating at-risk people and empower them with the skills needed to protect themselves by providing online and live training. 

Through workshops and seminars we educate participants about violence prevention and guide them on assessing risk factors while establishing boundaries in relationships. Additionally practical self defense classes equip people with hands on skills and effective strategies to prevent and intervene in cases of assault. CVPSD reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.


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