As a survivor you may suffer harrassment and stalking

One of the most malignant post-separation control methods is stalking and harassing the survivor. Stalking is illegal in most developed countries, and is a pattern of behaviour with intent to instil fear. It often goes on for several years and it can demoralise you and make your life a misery. It is an obsessive behaviour and therefore very dangerous. The stalker usually starts with annoying, obscene or threatening phone calls, and follows this up with visits to the home or the workplace of the survivor. Stalkers often carry out acts of violence aimed at the survivors’ property, pets and even at the survivors themselves. Again, they may use the children for this end. There are many examples of abusers frightening the children, threatening them, harming them, and even kidnapping them. Your onetime abuser may also attend sporting events in which your children are involved and sit near you to intimidate you. You may also find him sitting next to you if you are having a meal in a restaurant. No place is sacrosanct to the abuser.
Cyber stalking is especially destabilising. Instances have arisen of stalkers concealing GPS equipment in the survivor’s car to track her movements. You should also be aware that computers might be used to gather information about you. Some survivors turn to chat rooms for support and advice. It is easy for an abuser to pose as a supportive female, make contact with the survivor, and gather information. This further feeds their jealousy and need for control.
Yet, you are not without power when dealing with stalking and harassment. On a psychological level, it is best not to react, because any reaction gives the abuser satisfaction and encourages him in his behaviour. Personal power can best be maintained by creating psychological boundaries, which means being aware of the buttons that abusers can push, and disconnecting from them. Controlling or concealing anger, resentment and bitterness, deprives the stalker of the satisfaction of witnessing the torment of the survivor, and may help to weaken his resolve to pursue. On a practical level, stalking should be reported to the police, although this is not very effective. After all a person is entitled to attend events in which their children are taking part. Nevertheless, research shows that being confronted by a police officer can deter some abusers. If you wish to take legal action at some stage, you should keep a diary of all stalking events. There is nothing as powerful as a written record, because it may show a pattern. If the stalker makes phone threats, it might be possible to record them, also.

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Posted in abuse, Leaving an abusive situation
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