Monday, January 13, 2014

Safety 101: STALKING

January is National Stalking Awareness Month.
CLINK FOR MORE PARTICIPANTS
In recognition of her upcoming release ~ TELL ME WHEN, about a college freshman who struggles with the aftermath of being stalked and kidnapped during her senior year of high school ~ NA Author Stina Lindenblatt has organized a blog hop to shed light on this serious life issue.
When I was in high school, the idea of stalking was in its infancy. It was misunderstood and mislabeled. If you were a girl and a boy was paying you that much attention, then you must have done something to encourage it. Thank goodness that theory slowly changed as more stalking cases became public. But then the internet was born, and stalkers gained a new arena to spread fear and control over their victims ~ cyber-stalking. 
Stalking can be in the form of unwanted attention - such as frequent emails, cards, gifts, phone calls, or finding that person watching your house or place of work. It can start out violently or with vandalism or can start more slowly, eventually escalating to those.

Here are a few safety keys I've collected for dealing with stalking or cyber-stalking.
General Stalking:
  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Stop all contact and communications with the person harassing you.
  3. After you've stopped all contact, it's still stalking if that person contacts your friends or family. Give your friends/family the okay to either tell that person to leave you alone or make you aware of the incident.
  4. Do not respond to the stalkers advancements or acts. That will usually encourage more unwanted attention.
  5. Record any incident you feel is related to a stalker issue.
Cyber-Stalking:
  1. Do not share personal information online.
  2. Avoid answering online questionnaires.
  3. Designate a separate email for registering on online sites. Do not use this one for personal or business related dealings.
  4. Many sites occasionally change their information sharing policies. Check often and make the appropriate changes to protect yourself.
  5. Use caution when sharing intimate details with online friendships. Mostly, avoid doing so, unless you are sure the person is who they say they are. AND checking their sites doesn't necessarily mean that you are now sure of their identity. Anyone can create a false profile. Anyone.
Above all these for both stalking incidents, share any suspicious activity with someone you can trust. If, after you've broken all ties with said stalker and the behavior does not stop, contact the authorities. DO NOT WAIT. 

I want to thank Stina for having the courage to write a story like this and for bringing its seriousness to the forefront. One of the suggestions for this blog hop was to share a personal experience. I've had one, but it involved my best friend - actually, it's more her story than mine. So I chose not to share it. Just know that it can be very serious and it's not something to mess around with.
AND if you haven't done so already, feel free to take my writer's pledge for 2014. Just go HERE or click on the badge in my right sidebar to signup! LUV to have you.

What are your thoughts about safety when it comes to receiving unwanted behavior from another person?
 photo Sheri2.png

30 comments:

  1. I just saw this on Stina's blog. So scary. The actress who played the older sister in the movie Poltergeist was murdered at the ripe old age of 21 by a stalker who got her information from the DMV. They tightened their privacy laws after that.

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  2. An excellent post! We teach our kids constantly to pay attention to their surroundings. Be aware.

    I test them often by asking them what just happened or did you see that person and what they were doing? It helps. This is a crazy world filled with crazy people we live in.

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  3. I was stalked in university and it is a scary feeling when you're not sure if it's just a harmless crush or worse. I decided it could be worse and did something about it (but that's a guest post on my blog tour).

    That's for the great tips, Sheri!!!! And thanks for participating in the blog hop. I'm tweeting this post this afternoon. It's such great advice!

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    1. Of course, Stina! I'm happy to participate.

      (The stalking incident I mentioned has to do with someone close to me. The entire thing escalated to the point where the guy tried to kill her with a shotgun, and he used me to get to her. The guilt - of me being so stupid and buying his pity act - took me years to overcome. For her, what he did still haunts her today - 24 years later.)

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  4. That's why I don't post a lot of personal information. I want to keep my private life private.

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  5. Great tips on how to stay safe. Now that my daughter will be going to college in 2 years, I worry about this a lot more than I have in awhile.

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  6. Your post made me think of one of my daughter's on-again, off-again girlfriends. One of the reasons for the switchlight friendship is the friend's boyfriend. He is incredibly possessive, obnoxiously so, according to my daughter. Her friend publicly complains about it, but according to my daughter, encourages it. Privately, the friend thinks it means he really loves her. And at this point, the friend won't listen to anyone who says his actions aren't healthy. Scary.

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    1. That is really scary, Kim. I'm sure it's frustrating for your daughter, as well. These types of relationships are SO tough for an outsider to chip away at. Most people who want to bring this sort of issue to light in someone else's relationship only want what's best. They're not trying to hurt the couple or whatever. It's tough when the other party has blinders on.

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  7. I avoid putting much up, only one or two pics of me, the rest is the cat lol but I mean if you are online doing anything, tweets, blogs, etc. and a stalker really wanted to find you, they could and easily too.

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    1. You're right. As far as cyberspace goes, the best action we can take is to be aware of those we interact with and take note of any funky comment or message. I've unfriended or blocked folks because I got a weird feeling from a comment they left me. Listening to that inner voice is important.

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  8. I had a cyber-stalker a few years back. He sent me hundreds of hateful emails and threatened to sic the KKK on me, because I didn't publish his anti-American rant in my 'zine right after 9/11. But he was based in Ireland and it soon became apparent he was permanently unemployed and not too computer-skilled. I eventually settled the problem by offering to set up a web site for him--- not the recommended practice, I know. But once we became friends instead of enemies, he lost interest in me.

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  9. I had a stalker in high school and I've never gotten over it. Anyway, I had no idea there was a national stalker awareness month! Things I didn't know...

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    1. I actually didn't know it either, until I did some research before writing up this post. I'm thankful for the awareness.

      Thank you for dropping by!

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  10. Really looking forward to Stina's book!! I had a stalker too. Thankfully it didn't escalate to that extent, but it was in HS and college. Then a few years ago he tried to friend me on FB and made a comment about my kids. Yikes!! That's when I decided to keep all kid pics/names private and on my writing stuff I only use "son" or "daughter"

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  11. This is such an important topic for everyone and especially young adults. Good luck to Stina on Tell Me When.

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  12. Thanks for the tips and good luck to Stina

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  13. I wish Stina the best and a big congrats on her book :)

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  14. Stalking in a very serious issue. Because people think they have a right to do certain things, it doesn't mean they have a right to invade and dissolve another person't sense of safety and security. I am glad there is an awareness month and appreciate the tips.

    Three cheers for Stina for her book and for this blog hop.

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  15. I had an ex-boyfriend in high school hang around in the dark outside my home waiting for me to get back from a social outing. Scared me pretty badly, and my reaction was to yell at him and tell him how creepy it was. Luckily, with this particular guy, it startled him enough to actually think about it, realize it WAS creepy, and climb back in his car and drive off -- never to do it again. Thank heavens.

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  16. This is a very serious topic. I'm glad that people are bringing it to light. Thanks for sharing the tips.

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  17. Can't wait to read Stina's book. And I had no clue January was Stalker Awareness Month, but what a great idea. It's horrifying how many of us were stalked or know someone who was stalked. My college roomie was stalked freshman year. It was awfully scary. Thanks for doing this, Sherri.

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    1. I didn't either, Joanne, until I started to do research for this post. I'm glad our calendar highlights it; such an important topic to keep in the forefront.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  18. HI, Sheri,

    Very important topic.

    Thanks Stina for all your tips and insights and CONGRATS on you book!

    ALL the best for 2014.... Moving forward with positivity and grace under pressure!

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  19. Great advice. I don't think this issue is spoken about enough.

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    1. I agree with you. And sometimes the stalking is so subtle it takes another person to point it out. We all must be attentive.

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  20. An important post and something we probably don't pay attention to often enough.

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  21. LOve how you covered cyber-stalking too! Good to see you participating too! XO

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  22. Excellent tips, and so scary why we need tips. Hope many take heed and are careful!

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  23. Those are good tips. Scary to think how vulnerable we can become just through sharing information about ourselves.

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