I'm being stalked by my ex-partner, what should I do?
Trust your instincts. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are. Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship. The Somerville Police Department has a Family Services Bureau that handles a variety of crimes like sexual assault and abusive relationships. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, refer you to other services, and weigh options such as seeking a protection order.
They can work with you to develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work school, or somewhere else.
- Tell people how they can help you.
- Don’t communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
- Keep evidence of the stalking.
- When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date and place.
- Keep e-mails, phone messages, letter, or notes.
- Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes.
- Ask witnesses to write down what they saw.
Every state has stalking laws. The stalker may also have broken other laws in doing things like assaulting you or stealing or destroying your property. The Massachusetts Law Governing Cyber Stalking are as follows:
M.G.L. c. 265, s. 43: Stalking; Punishment
... willfully and maliciously engaging in conduct that seriously alarms or annoys a specific person and would cause reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makes a threat with the intent to place person in fear of death or bodily injury. Such conduct, acts or threats include, but are not limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications and facsimile communications. Stalking is a felony that is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to five years or by a fine of not more than $1000, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or both.
Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you. Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support. Tell security staff at your job or school. Ask them to help watch out for your safety.
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