A divorced woman whose ex-husband has been unable to let go of his need to control her recently contacted me. Her husband follows her during dates; sits in the parking lot of the office she works in and sends numerous text messages to her phone daily.
She wanted my guidance in dealing with her ex-husband. I had to wonder why she had not gone to the police instead of a stranger online. The majority of stalking cases appear in the context of domestic violence and these are the cases that most often result in serious bodily injury or death.
Stalking by an ex-spouse is a serious crime and one where law enforcement officials should become involved. If you have a spouse, who is stalking you research the subject; learn your state’s stalking laws and what resources are available. Your first step however, should always be contacting your local police department.
Behaviors That Constitute Stalking:
- Receiving unwanted phone calls.
- Receiving unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails.
- Someone following or spying on you.
- Someone showing up at places without a legitimate reason.
- Someone waiting for you in places they are not welcome.
- Someone leaving you unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
- Someone posting information or spreading rumors about you.
- Someone refusing to leave you alone after you request they do so.
Individually these behaviors do not constitute stalking. Collectively and done consistently these behaviors constitute criminal stalking and are punishable by law. Being divorced or separated puts you at a higher risk for stalking. Thirty-Four out of 1,000 divorced individuals are victims of an ex-spouse’s stalking and threatening behavior.
If your ex-spouse is continually behaving in a manner that causes you fear, or interferes with your ability to live peacefully you are a victim of stalking. Take their behavior seriously!