Step 1: Know Your Resources. In addition to support from campus and community organizations, you probably have a network of friends and relatives who can aid you in your safety.
Step 2: Read over the following key elements to be taken into consideration during various situations (listed in bold) where your safety may be in danger.
If you are concerned about…
1. Pre-stalking behaviors (behaviors that feel uncomfortable to you, but are not yet dangerous):
- Communicate your desire for no contact. Be direct and firm. Make statements such as “I want you to stop trying to contact me. I do not want you to call, stop by, or send me anything. I want all contact from you to end.”
- Document all contact from the individual and keep anything that has been sent to you (including copies of emails, messages, and gifts).
- Do not respond to subsequent contacts from this individual.
- Consider making a report to police.
- Consider the option of filing for a protective order.
- Tell friends and acquaintances that you do not want contact with the individual and that you do not want them to provide any information about you to that person.
2. Safety in your own home:
- Secure your home by locking doors and windows, and by keeping entryways well-lit.
- Inform your neighbors that you are being stalked. If you know who the stalker is, describe him or her, including name.
- Try not to leave or return to your home after dark without a trusted friend/relative with you.
- Always check the identity of the person(s) at your door before letting them into your home (install peepholes in doors).
- You may want to leave a light or radio on at night when you are not home.
- If you have children, teach them to never open the door for anyone, and how to use 911.
- Call the police immediately if you feel you are in danger.
3. Safety if stalker obtains entry into your home:
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will). For example, make arrangements beforehand to stay with a friend or relative if you need to leave, or have a shelter number on hand.
- Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the stalking behaviors and your fears, and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Try to have or direct the argument to a room/area where you have access to an exit in case the individual becomes violent. Keep in mind it should be a place where weapons are not accessible (for example the kitchen is dangerous due to knifes).
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a friend or relative’s home in case you need to leave your residence.
- Trust your judgment! If the situation is very serious, give the stalker what he/she wants. You have the right to protect yourself until you (and your children) are out of danger.
4. Safety with an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment:
- Keep your protective order with you at all times. Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
- Call the police if your stalker breaks the protective order.
- Think about how to protect yourself while you are waiting for the police to arrive.
- Inform family, friends, neighbors and medical providers that you have a protective order in effect.
5. Safety on the job, and out and about in public (at classes):
- Let people at work know that you are being stalked and that they should enforce your privacy at all times.
- Plan out a safe route when you leave work/school. Try to vary the route each day. Also, think about what you might do if something happened on the way home, such as an automobile breakdown.
- Always park your vehicle in a well-lit area. Walk to and from your vehicle in open well-lit areas, preferably with a trusted friend.
- Be alert, especially in elevators, parking structures, lots, and laundromats.
- If you have to walk/go jogging alone, keep your head up, look around constantly, and go against traffic.
- When you leave, tell someone you trust where you are going, when you plan to return, and who you are with.
- If you’re being followed on the road, drive to a public area.
- Consider owning a cell phone for safety measures.
Step 3: Know Your Plan. HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITIES TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS AND INCREASE YOUR SAFETY. Make lists of important phone numbers and actions you would take given different situations.