National Stalking Awareness Month
This week (January 13-17) is the Tell Me When blog hop, which focuses on the issue of stalking. It was inspired by my New Adult upcoming release by the same name. TELL ME WHEN is about a college freshman who struggles with the aftermath of being stalked and kidnapped during her senior year of high school. You can still sign up and be eligible to win a $20 Amazon gift card. For more info go here.
What do Jodi Foster, David Letterman, Selena Gomez, and Steven Spielberg have in common? They’ve all been victims of stalking. But celebrities aren’t the only ones whose lives are put at risk because someone becomes obsessed with them. You, me, the girl down the street, we can all become targets. The best way to avoid being a victim of stalking, which could end up having deadly consequences, is to prevent it from starting. Here are ten tips to protect you from becoming someone’s target:
1. When using social media sites, limit what info you give out. Be vague. Don’t mention when you’re away on vacation, and don’t give your minute by minute explanation of where you are and what you’re doing. When you announce on Twitter or Facebook that you’re now leaving for your neighborhood Starbucks, you’ve just made it easier for your stalker to hunt you down.
2. When running or walking, avoid going alone, especially on routes that aren’t busy. And always be aware of your surroundings. That means being able to hear when someone approaches. And alternate your route so that a potential stalker can’t predict where to find you.
3. If you give a stalker a phony phone # as an easy form of rejection, he might misinterpret the real meaning and think you’re interested.
4. Just say, “No.” If you come up with excuses, the stalker might interpret that as a yes.
5. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably is a sign you’re in danger.
6. When using social media sites, don’t talk about your kids to your “friends”. Save that for family only sites or keep info vague. Don’t mention your kids’ real names or nicknames on social media sites. Avoid anything that would help a stalker identify your child.
7. When not using your computer, turn it off or make sure the camera lens is covered. Stalkers have been known to watch unsuspecting victims this way.
8. If you feel like you’re being stalked, keep record of all interactions and situations so that you can give them to the police. If a stalker sends you anything, save it as evidence. Keep a record of when it was sent or found, where it was found, and protect it in a Ziploc bag like on CSI. Once you suspect you’re a victim of stalking, contact the police. Don’t wait for the problem to go away. Often it won’t!
9. If you’re being stalked, make sure you tell your family so that they can be alert to the individual and to possible danger to you and them.
10. If a stalker threatens you, take that threat seriously.
I will be posting these and other tips on Twitter from January 13 to 26. Look for #TMW.
Have you ever been a victim of stalking or know someone who has been? How vigilant are you in protecting yourself and your family? Have you even given stalking much thought?