We see it in movies all of the time, where a scorned lover is so hurt that they begin to stalk someone. It looks scary when we see it on a screen, yet when it happens in real life it can be downright terrifying. In the state of Texas, there are specific actions that, when done repeatedly, are considered stalking.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, it can be a painful reminder for some and can trigger them to engage in frightening behavior. As the victim of a stalker, you have legal recourse to protect yourself and your family from threats of harm. Let’s go through a brief overview of stalking and how you can stay safe.
How Do I Know If I’m Being Stalked?
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between someone who calls or visits a lot and someone who is truly stalking you. Texas law defines stalking as someone who is trying to exercise control over their victim through the use of threats or intimidating behavior. Examples such as being followed, receiving threats, or having your property damaged are all indicators that you are being stalked.
Stalking doesn’t always take place when the victim and perpetrator know each other. Sometimes a complete stranger can become fixated with someone and stalk them, despite the victim not having any contact with them. Threats to your family members or friends can also be perceived as stalking behavior.
What Do I Do If Someone Is Stalking Me?
Proving that someone is stalking you can be difficult, so it’s best to follow these steps if you suspect this type of behavior:
- Contact local law enforcement – You’ll want to make sure your report is documented and that you provide as much evidence as you can, whether it’s in the form of letters or phone calls you’ve received.
- Keep track – A diary of any contact you’ve had with your stalker will go a long way toward proving the behavior. Gather any testimony you can from witnesses who have seen your stalker follow you or have noticed them visiting your home or place of work.
- Spread the word – Tell all of your friends and family about your stalker, so that they can keep an eye out for any proof that this person is acting inappropriately.
A Protective Order Might Be Your New Best Friend
One of the most effective ways to keep a stalker at bay is by getting a protective order against them. This is a critical tool that can be implemented when your stalker is related to you by blood or marriage, or if you share a child with the person or have lived together in the past. Texas has a wealth of online resources including forms and instructional videos which can help you file the necessary paperwork for a protective order.
Remember, if you are being stalked you must always be vigilant. Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, and take any threats seriously. If you are afraid that someone is stalking you, contact Alexandra Geczi Family Law today. We can help you to understand your potential legal recourse and support you to maintain your safety.