The term stalking means “to pursue furtively”, “to track”. But what is stalking? How do you recognize this form of harassment? What should you do in case of obsessive harassment, and how can you free yourself from it?
What is stalking? Definition
The stalker, i.e. the harasser, will engage in repeated intrusive behavior toward another person with the aim of harassing or threatening them. Note that the stalker may go as far as physical and/or sexual assault, or even murder. To achieve their ends, the stalker will seek a certain intimacy with the victim and will violate their private life.
The stalker knows everything about their victim’s life, including small, insignificant habits. Repeated phone calls, frequent texting, sending presents like chocolates or flowers, attempts to approach the victim… The stalker will use many well-honed techniques to harass their victim.
Stalker: how to recognize one?
With their sadistic personality, the stalker leads their victim to a state of inferiority by seeking coercion, seduction, suffering, and attention. We can classify stalkers in two categories:
- The stalker suffering from a psychotic disorder who needs medical treatment.
- The stalker suffers from a personality disorder and therefore needs psychotherapy. Note that 90% of harassers have this disorder.
It’s important to highlight that the victim may be unaware of what is happening at first. The stalker is looking for all possible mistakes made by the victim, such as adultery, bad practice or refusal of a relationship, which leads the victim to feel truly guilty. The stalker particularly enjoys building on this guilt to satisfy their need.
Stalking on Instagram or Facebook
With the advent of the Internet and in particular social media, stalking has taken on new forms. Before, you used to have to follow the person in the street and record everything they did, now this all happens online. Nowadays, nobody needs to look through the window. All of our movements, opinions, and friends are freely available on the Internet. Our lives are therefore at the mercy of the stalkers’ temptations, which turn to online harassment.
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Obsessive harassment: What to do?
1. Don’t underestimate the harassment
In most cases, the victim knows their attacker. That’s why they tend to minimize the severity of the harassment. Note that stalking can escalate over time and lead to more serious violence.
2. Confront the harasser
Cut all contact with your harasser and explain to them that you don’t want any kind of relationship with them. Note that the stalker may lie to make you feel even guiltier, but this confrontation is vital. It can be brutal, though, so don’t hesitate to do this in front of witnesses.
3. Keep all the evidence
Even though it may not be obvious, it’s essential to keep a diary with the dates you were followed when you received text messages or presents… This will enable you to build up tangible evidence to file a complaint. Note that in the United States, most states have introduced anti-stalking laws. The same is true in the United Kingdom, after being reported twice by a victim, the stalker may get into trouble with the British justice system.
Editor’s note: Get help
Victims of obsessive harassment may develop post-traumatic stress, suicidal thoughts, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, or paranoia. If you think you’re a victim of this form of harassment, talk about it to your loved ones, raise the alarm, and don’t hesitate to file a complaint to stop this behavior. 👉 If this has left its mark on you and led to a certain unease or the development of behavioral disorders, talk about it to a psychologist immediately.
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