Stalking doesn't just happen to Hollywood celebrities. Here are the tools to deal with the kind of attention you don't want - online and off.
It starts with that uneasy feeling, when someone's attention goes from unwanted to alarming and they won't get the message. Rather than being simply annoying, stalking can be sinister. One in 12 women in the US will be stalked in her lifetime, statistics show, most times by someone the victim knows or once dated.
OVER THE EDGE
If you are distressed by someone's attention — if it causes you anxiety attacks, makes you fearful to be alone, prompts you to be absent from work or to increase security measures — it's possible you're being stalked.
Stalking is not a once-off activity, nor is it done by complete strangers, and it can come in the form of watching, pursuing and the sending of letters or e-mails.
A stalker may even try to break into your car or home, threaten you or your loved ones, injure your pet or show up at places you frequent.
Your intuition is your best friend. Is the person's presence intimidating, even in a subtle way? If you feel uncomfortable, read on.
YOU'RE BEING STALKED - NOW WHAT?
Contact the police so it's on record that you've taken steps towards your safety. Try catching the stalker on camera. (Do this in a public place, and have a male friend beside you.) Take a photograph and threaten to expose him. Men who stalk tend to be insecure. Confronting, them in public is how you strike where it hurts.
An article in The New York Times quoted US security expert Gavidde Becker and criminology expert Dr Doris Hall advising victims to avoid the following when dealing with a stalker:
#Give them the slightest hope you might relent. Stay firm and unyielding, 44 Fuel the obsession with attention. 44 Try to explain yourself.
#Fuel the obsession with attention.
#Try to explain yourself.
# Meet with them.
# Accept packages you didn't order.
#Keep quiet. Tell your friends, family and the neighbourhood watch. This will keep everyone on the alert and offer you the support you need.
Victims can get a protection order against the perpetrator; The police can then make an arrest if your stalker violates the terms. If you're being cyberstalked, you can apply for an interim protection order. The police will then investigate the identity and address of the stalker. Remember, you are not powerless! Keep a diary of each incident, tighten home and online security, and avoid broadcasting your whereabouts wit geo-tagging such as Facebook's “Places” failure.