If you have that feeling like someone is always looking over your shoulder, and someone actually is, then you don’t have to live in fear. “Stalking” is a legal term that means that someone is threatening or harassing you and making you fearful. It isn’t just about physical intimidation. There are many ways that people in the new age of technology can stalk someone through social media or cyber behaviors.
The internet has provided several tools for stalkers to find victims. In fact, it has given them a whole new medium to harass and intimidate without thinking they own any responsibility for their actions – but they do. If you find yourself being threatened or stalked by someone in Seattle either through your mobile device or in real life, there are many ways to protect yourself.
“Stalking” is the persistent and repetitious unwanted behavior that someone engages in to make another person feel threatened or intimidated. It can be perpetrated through the use of physical presence, text messaging, GPS tracking, social media or other tools, or a combination of all of them. Stalking isn’t just creepy or irritating; it is illegal, and if it makes you uncomfortable, you can put a stop to it.
Any type of stalking, whether it is through an electronic device or through physical presence, can lead to someone having an order of protection taken out against them. It isn’t that you have to know someone intimately or even at all to think they are stalking you. If someone is making you feel threatened, you can stop them through legal means. Statistics released by the National Center for the Victims of Crime estimate that as many as six million people have been stalked at some point in their lives. Currently, one in six women and about one in nineteen men in the United States are the victims of stalking at any given time.
Stalking or just irritating?
There is a difference between someone just being irritating and them stalking you. If you are wondering whether you are being stalked, there are some clear signs to indicate that the unwanted behavior and attention isn’t legal, and that you can take action to make it stop.
The signs of stalking are:
- Shadowing or following
- “Accidentally” showing up wherever you are
- Hovering at your place of work, your home, or your school
- Hacking into your personal communications like your phone conversations or any computer exchanges with others
- Repeatedly calling you and then hanging up
- Sending emails, text messages, or written messages that aren’t wanted
- Sending you letters or gifts that you aren’t comfortable with
- Threatening you or the people you care about
- Using hidden cameras, GPS, or looking through your social media accounts to track your whereabouts
- Trying to research your information through the use of public records, online search engines, hiring professionals to follow you, even going through your trash to gain information about you
- Any tactics or tools that someone can use to either find or control you.
What tools do you have for protection?
In Seattle, if you feel like you are going stalked, then you have three different legal courses to force someone to stop their behavior and stop intimidating you, threatening you, or otherwise scaring you.
Stalking protection orders were created to stop someone from engaging in stalking behaviors. They don’t carry the same weight as other types of protection orders, but they do an excellent job of stopping someone from following you.
Domestic violence protection orders can stop someone from perpetrating violence against you if you are fearful of their behavior. It is a legal request to stop someone from being able to stalk or to hurt you. Typically initiated by people who are in a relationship, these orders can be used to protect yourself and your minors or other family.
Anti-harassment orders seek to stop someone who engages in unlawful harassment. It means that someone can’t knowingly engage in harassing behaviors. It establishes a “course of conduct” to limit the ways that someone can have contact with and intimidate or follow you.
If you feel as if you are being stalked, you don’t have to suffer through it. There are many ways to get Seattle law enforcement officials involved to protect yourself from both physical harm or the threat of violence. The best way to initiate an order of protection is to have a harassment protection lawyer in Seattle help guide you through filing a petition.