There is no typical profile of a stalking victim or a stalker. Victims of stalking may or may not be acquainted with their stalkers. Victims and stalkers can be men or women, young or old, and of any race, creed, or economic status. Likewise, there is no typical stalking scenario– people are stalked for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, stalking is associated with the stalking of an ex-lover or spouse, but sometimes, employers are stalked by former employees who were terminated. Sometimes, a stalker has no motivation at all to harass a victim. What’s more? Stalking is highly facilitated by the widespread use of the internet and social media channels. It is more difficult than ever for a victim to “escape.”
Stalking is a serious offense that has significant psychological consequences on victims. Victims may suffer PTSD and demonstrate signs of depression and anxiety as the result of being stalked. Some may feel forced to change their jobs or uproot their entire life just to get away from a stalker who may or may not have malicious intentions. If you are engaging in a relationship with someone, it’s important to know what signals you may send that person that may shape their perception of you as a stalker.
Making Intense Eye Contact
One thing stalkers do have in common is the strong desire for the attention of their victims. Many exhibit signs of a variety of psychological disorders like depression and schizophrenia; others also exhibit personality disorders like narcissism. People who engage in stalking behaviors have intense personalities that may be misunderstood. Stalkers often exhibit intense eye contact that makes the recipient of such contact feel uncomfortable. Excessive strong eye contact may be interpreted as predatory behavior that can instill fear in the person for whom it is intended.
Obtaining Information That Has Not Been Voluntarily Disclosed to You
In order to learn as much as they can about their victims, stalkers often conduct ample research about their victim’s lives. They attempt to pick up any kind of information they deem relevant, such as the victim’s schedule, route to and from work, where and with whom the victim socializes, where he or she is most likely to be at any given moment, and other personal details. Acquiring more information than necessary about the person with whom you are pursuing a relationship can be misconstrued as stalker-like behavior and raise red flags.
Asking Extremely Specific Questions About Activity that Does Not Involve You
This behavior is directly related to the previous item. Stalkers often raise red flags by asking very specific questions about their victim’s activities, particularly online activity such as social media activity. Stalkers are often motivated to obtain a sense of control; the more a stalker knows about his or her victim, the more in control he or she feels. Asking more than once about people in the photos your date shares on social media or the people he or she keeps in touch with, especially when beginning a relationship, may indicate stalking behavior.
Showing Up Unannounced
At times, one’s intentions to be spontaneous may not be received with the warmest of spirits. Showing up to your date’s place of work or home without being invited is a common practice of stalkers, especially when they have been informed that their person of interest is occupied or has made other plans.
Stalking is a criminal offense, defined in Florida Statute §784.048. If you face charges, consult with Brian Gabriel, an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach. For over 30 years, attorney Brian Gabriel has dedicated his career to standing up for those who have been accused of criminal offenses throughout South Florida. Call 561-622-5575 or schedule a free consultation.