Don’t be a crime victim statistic. If you are proactive at the first sign of trouble, it may save your life, or the life of a loved one.
Many people joke online about “stalking” their kids, spouses, partners and family members. Yet, statistics show that legitimate cases are alarmingly on the rise, with no end in sight. It is a global issue, as most countries have reported serious cases of stalking and cyber crimes. This is no laughing matter for anyone who has been, or knows someone that has been, stalked, bullied and/or cyber stalked.
My own personal experience with being stalked on the internet for nearly three years by the same person was the impetus for my own in-depth research on the subject of cyberstalking and other cybercrimes. My niece being bullied at school prompted my studies further into psychological characteristics of the children and adults behind these crimes and aggressive actions against others.
Listen to your intuition. If you suspect that someone may be following you, online or offline, with ill intent, tell someone immediately. Document all events in a notebook, even the most minor occurrences are important to note. Any form of stalking and bullying is emotionally, mentally and physically draining, and will deplete your energy and ability to function daily, if you let it. Be stronger and smarter than your attacker.
This is not about being afraid – as a matter of fact, lose the fear! The person who means you harm plays on your fears, and wants you to be afraid. Be strong and don’t back down. The best defense: educate yourself. Knowledge is power.
Although there are many similarities in the behaviors and motives of stalkers and bullies, there are also a number of differences based upon their method of pursuit. Some of the most well-documented, common characteristics follow:
- Uses false persona(s) and profile pictures across social media networks;
- Multiple accounts or public pages (at one time, my cyber-stalker had 6 public Facebook pages and 4 accounts at the peak of their activity);
- Possible history of abuse, depression, social anxiety issues and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Extreme emotional highs & lows; low self-esteem and self-worth
- Switches between overconfident and smug behavior (expert, know-it-all) to frequently apologizing for mistakes and/or errors in own judgment;
- May use sexually stimulating photos (either of themselves, or to project the “image” of the false persona); constant attention-seeker, but will abruptly “brush off” anyone who comes “too close” or suddenly disagrees with them;
- When not received well by their audience and/or exposed by the victim publicly, they may launch a slander/libel attack; will claim they are the real victim;
- Complains about illness/maladies to gather public sympathy & support
- History of physical and/or verbal abuse at home;
- Aggressive toward most people;
- Tends to laugh off their behavior or make excuses for it;
- Hits, pushes, trips or otherwise become physical with other children;
- Likes to scare, taunt or hurt animals, other children and even adults;
- Physical strength; exhibits aggressive behavior by pursuing those perceived as weaker;
- May or may not be popular in school;
- Trouble following rules; refuses to listen to authority figures;
- Has little concern for the feelings of others
- Possible former intimate partner or seeking relationship with a new acquaintance;
- Obsessively think about and/or fantasize about their victim; oriented toward being in love, angry or vengeful;
- History of rejection in relationships; numerous failed relationships;
- Communication issues with other people;
- Highly intelligent; will meticulously plot and plan their behavior and actions toward their victim;
- Social skills are lacking;
- Motivated by believing the victim is the “only one”;
- May seek revenge against anyone who may hurt them or their targeted victim;
- May have prior charges of stalking against them, including Orders of Protection filed by former roommates, partners or even friends and family
In 2012, Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA) reported 394 cases of cyberstalking. Of those 394 people, most victims were adults between the ages 18-40 – not children. Interesting to note is that 16% of those cases of abuse started on Facebook, with 83% of all reported cases escalating. View the complete report at http://www.haltabuse.org/resources/stats/index.shtml.
Don’t be one those statistics. If you are proactive at the first sign of trouble, it may save your life or the life of a loved one.
To get support, information and to gain the knowledge you need to protect yourself and your children, visit the Resources below.
National Center for Victims of Crime – Stalking Resource Center
(Has a report form and a guide to keeping evidence organized)
© 2013 Cairenn Rhys