In the second part of this two-part series, Trish details what to do if you or a friend is experiencing stalking. Please read part one to find out more about what stalking is, who can be a victim of stalking, and what tools a stalker may use. If you are in immediate danger, always call 911. For more resources, please visit our Women Against Crime Resources page.
What to do if you are being stalked
It’s important to remember that stalking is a crime, and you have a right to find ways to make yourself feel safe. If someone or a group of people are paying you attention in ways that you don’t like, it’s normal to feel frightened or intimidated. There is no way to “lead a stalker on” or “encourage” their behavior; no victim “deserves” to be intimidated or harassed.
If you are receiving unwanted attention from an individual, it’s important to seek help right away, even if you don’t necessarily feel threatened. There are many ways you can find help:
- Inform friends and family that you don’t feel safe
- Get in touch with police or file a restraining order
- Familiarize yourself with your state’s legal policies on stalking
- Contact a local resource center or counselor
- Create a plan to escape a violent situation
- Save evidence of stalking (e.g. call logs, voicemails, letters, emails, screenshots)
- Document everything you can, including every time the stalker comes into contact with you in any way and every time you have informed him or her to leave you alone
You can also refer to this list of Women Against Crime’s resources to find help.
What to do if a friend is being stalked
If a friend or loved one is experiencing stalking, it’s important that you prioritize their safety, even if they don’t necessarily think they are unsafe. Because stalking is often perpetrated by a former or current partner, many victims are quick to excuse behavior as “loving” or “protective” until it’s too late.
The best way you can help a friend who is experiencing stalking is to listen to them and believe them. Offer them a safe place to stay and help them find resources to keep them safe in your community.
Finally, it’s important to avoid direct confrontation with a stalker. You may think that telling a stalker to leave your friend alone will be helpful, but it may lead to a violent reaction. It’s best to let law enforcement professionals deal with the stalker.
Remember: stalking is serious and can lead to dangerous consequences. Make sure that you and your friends are safe.