You went on a few dates with someone, but you decided it wasn’t working out and told him as much. Ever since, things have not felt quite right. Maybe you are still receiving texts from the person, or there are footprints in the soil near your windows or the same vehicle seems to follow you home from work every day. Like other Floridians who are experiencing the same things, you might wonder if you are being stalked. You may also fear for your safety.
Being stalked can leave you with constant feelings of fear, anxiety and invasion of privacy. You might worry that your stalker could physically harm you. Stalking often involves more than merely following someone, as the following examples show:
- A former romantic partner might send you hundreds of text messages, bother you constantly on social media and call you repeatedly at home and work.
- A co-worker or neighbor could develop an unhealthy obsession with you and follow you everywhere you go.
- A stalker may take photographs and videos of you without your knowledge or consent.
- Your ex might threaten to harm or kill you, your pets or your loved ones if you do not talk to him or go back to him.
- The person stalking you may have obtained an alarming amount of private information about your residence, workplace, interests, friends, family and more.
Two types of stalking are crimes in Florida, explains FindLaw. First-degree misdemeanor stalking involves the repeated, malicious and willful harassing or following of another. Aggravated stalking is a third-degree felony, and involves stalking someone under the age of 16, making credible threats so the target has a reasonable fear of bodily injury or death or subsequent stalking after a previous conviction or while a protection order is in effect. Your stalker can face numerous penalties, including prison time and fines.
You should not have to fear for your safety if an obsessive person is following and threatening you. Reporting stalking behavior to law enforcement is the first step to take to protect yourself.