The next several blogs will have suggestions on how to keep yourself safe if you are being stalked or harassed. Stalkers can be someone who you are/were in a relationship with, a coworker, acquaintance or even a stranger. These are general suggestions which may not be appropriate in every situation – please pick and choose the ones that seem relevant to your situation. Following these suggestions can’t guarantee your safety, but it could help make you safer.
General Safety Strategies:
• Stop all contact and communication with the person stalking or harassing you. Responding provides reinforcement for his/her behavior.
• Carry a cell phone with you. Dial 911 if you ever feel imminent danger. Keep handy or memorize emergency phone numbers that you can use in case of an emergency, e.g. the number of the local police station.
• ALWAYS trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, reach out for help, even if nothing immediately dangerous is happening.
• Have a safe place in mind you can to go to in an emergency. Exa,ples are a police station, place of worship, public area, the home of a family member or friend (unknown to the stalker), or a domestic violence shelter. If someone is following you, it is generally not a good idea to go home or to a shelter, choose a public safe place.*
• Try not to travel alone. Always vary your routes to and from work or school, the grocery store, and any other places regularly visited. By changing your daily routes, it could make it more difficult for someone to learn your routine. If you run or walk for exercise, you might want to get an exercise buddy to go with you.
• Attend a self defense seminar and/or class. You will gain confidence and skills that may very well save your life. Confidence is the unconquerable enemy of fear!
• Be aware of how much identifying information you are posting on the Internet through social networking sites and online purchases. You may want to select the highest security settings on any social networking accounts and think carefully before giving out your personal information through online purchases. More on this in upcoming blogs.
• Alert the three credit bureaus and ask to have a fraud alert put on your credit reports: Experian (888) 690-8086, Equifax (800) 525-6285, and Trans Union (800) 680-7289. A stalker may try to obtain your Social Security number and/or mother’s maiden name to use this information to obtain your credit information. Putting an alert on your credit could help to prevent this and possible fraudulent activity and/or identity theft.**
Credit to www.womenslaw.org from which this article was adapted.