If you are being stalked or threatened by a stranger, acquaintance, current or ex-partner, it is important to take it seriously! Stalking in Michigan is a CRIME and can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the level of abuse. Do all that you can to keep safe and don’t face stalking alone. There are police, personal protection orders (restraining orders), shelter services, and advocacy/support services to help you.
Threats to your Safety:
- Being followed
- Receiving threatening or unwanted e-mail, phone calls, mail or notes
- Having your car, bike or other belongings tampered with or destroyed
- Unwanted gifts
- Tampering of your home, work area or car, so that you know someone has been there
- Observing the person who is following you in your neighborhood, where your work or go to school, and/or public places that you frequent
- Injury to your pets and/or children, or actual or symbolic references (threats) to harming them
- Other actions that are done to instill fear in you
The risks to your safety are higher if: 1. the person stalking you has weapons, 2. has threatened suicide or to kill you, 3. has told you about a history of hurting others, and/or 4. if there has been a history where he/she has actually physically or sexually assaulted you.
Tips for dealing with a stalker
· Avoid all contact. Clearly, directly and explicitly advise the pursuer that you’re not interested in a relationship, and then avoid all contact.
· Don’t react to the stalker. No matter how frightened or angry you are, stalkers thrive on your energy and attention.
· Get a new unlisted phone number and private P.O. Box.
· Carry a cell phone with you for safety. Any cell phone, even those without a service plan, can call 911 at no cost.
· Protect your house to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
· Install a peep hole in your door
· Install a deadbolt lock on all doors
· Install motion detector lights outside your home
· Trim shrubbery near doors and consider planting thorny shrubs under your windows
· Install curtains or blinds that make it impossible to see movement or people in your house
· Prepare an evacuation route just in case you need to exit quickly
· Change your routes and routines. Stalkers count on predictability.
· Inform others. Let people around you know what’s going on and enlist their help. Describe the threatening person, their vehicles if known, and ask that they call the police if they see this person around you or your home.
· Get a restraining order. While many stalkers ignore restraining orders, it can be an invaluable tool that allows law enforcement to make an immediate arrest when stalkers violate the orders.
· Consider moving. In particularly hostile cases, sidestepping the danger a stalker poses may require you to move.