Obsessiveness and jealousy are traits that may be latent, or develop through cultural or media exposures, or a series of life-events. They can form in either sex; however, due to the historical imbalance of power which has seen men exhibit varying degrees of dominance and entitlement over women, from the workplace to the cloistered domesticity of the home, women are still, by and large, the victims in cases of harassment, whether psychological, emotional or physical.
The perpetrator of such harassment may have had no contact, or very little indirect contact with, or exposure to, the victim – such as is the case with a stalker (although “stalkers” may also be individuals close to the female victim, such as friends, ex-partners or even family).
Conversely, ex-boyfriends may be perpetrators of harassment that have shared weeks, months or years in close contact with a woman. Stalking or harassment by such individuals may take place during a relationship, or following its demise – especially if the ex-partner cannot bear the thought or sight of the woman he was once close to with another person, or suspects her of unfaithful behavior.
Signs of Stalking
- Following the victim or waiting for the victim to appear
- Pursuing the victim through channels of communication such as mail, email or telephone
- Repeatedly contacting them with undesired messages that instill fear or confusion
- Acts of vandalism to objects or property belonging to the victim
- Sending objects, whether “gifts” or strange items, to the victim
- Making threats to the victim or those close to her
- Investigating the victim’s life using the internet, close friends, or investigation services
Cultural Phenomena Increases The Incidence of Stalking
Today’s cultural “norms” may encourage behaviours related to stalking or harassment of women. The “hypersexualization” of young girls, superficial relationships, reality television programs and media promoted narcissism and focus on the self may instill in some men a sense of entitlement and possessiveness that leads to dangerous behavior.
How Can Women Empower and Protect Themselves?
Whether a woman is being stalked or harassed by someone they may have never met – someone who developed an unhealthy obsession with her through a chance passing-by, or dealing with a threatening and suspicious boyfriend or ex-partner, there are steps she can take to protect herself.
- Improve security levels at home. New, heavier locks, window-guards and alarm systems can all help. Removing objects which can be hidden behind makes a home less of a target. Neighbours can be enlisted as “extra eyes”, which has the added “benefit” of instilling a sense of community.
- Keep records of any contacts with a stalker; these can be used to prosecute them and prove the innocence of the victim.
- Record details about any suspicious vehicles that follow them, such as model, year and licence plate number.
- Take different routes to shops, friends and work.
- Despite being a “victim” of another person’s behaviour, the woman being stalked or harassed needs to remind herself that she is not at fault. Not being “hard” on oneself, and surrounding oneself with supportive friends and family is empowering.
- Learn self-defense. Even if it is never needed, it is a tremendous confidence-builder.
- Carry some sort of self-defense aid, such as pepper spray. Pepper spray is legal in many states (individual state laws should be checked), and is a compact, affordable and highly effective, non-lethal means by which to temporarily disable an assailant, delivering a fluid that causes a briefly incapacitating, powerful burning sensation in the face and eyes.
- Do not let the stalker “own” their life.
Being stalked and harassed is something no woman should have to endure. In the unfortunate event that it does happen, women need to know that empowering action can be taken to render the perpetrator ineffectual and keep themselves safe. For a variety of self-defense products, you can visit Buy-Pepper-Spray-Today.com which specializes in pepper spray and other non-lethal products.