Although the family and cast of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” offer a peek into their personal lives on their TV show, there are times when that weekly peek just isn’t enough. Some fans, such as John Ford of Canada, take it a step further and become full-on stalkers, breaking into Kendall Jenner’s Beverly Hills mansion not once but twice.
In November of 2018 Jenner was awarded a permanent restraining order against Ford, but he has since broken that order, been arrested for stalking, and is now being detained by ICE for deportation back to Canada because of his illegal and dangerous behavior.
Celebrities have always had to deal with such superfans, but nowadays “fans” can easily become “stalkers.” Taylor Swift, Natalie Portman, and Aaron Carter are just a few of today’s celebrities who have had to deal with a stalker, often taking legal action to keep the stalkers away from them.
In some cases, the stalkers are harmless and only want to catch a glimpse of their celebrity crushes…in other instances, there is a real danger presented when they are breaking windows or locks to get into a celebrity’s home. Stalking is a very, very serious crime.
The National Institute of Justice defines stalking as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear.”
Cyberstalking goes even further by harassing or threatening a person online while remaining anonymous. The incidents of cyberstalking have risen in recent years due to the popularity of several different social media sites as well as the increased access to the Internet.
How do you best handle a stalker? Even for those of us who are everyday people, caution must be observed in our daily lives. Women in particular are often the victims of stalking or cyberstalking. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from being stalked or assaulted is to always be aware of your surroundings and always keep safety in mind, especially at night.
Don’t walk alone to your car – always have a coworker, friend, or security guard walk you to your vehicle or home at night. If you know you will be out late, either go with a buddy or be sure that someone else knows where you are at all times.
If at any time you are feeling threatened by a stalker, call 911 and get the police involved because every state has some kind of stalking law. Develop a safety plan so that you always know what to do in case someone follows you. Do not engage with the stalker – no talking, no yelling, no anything. And most importantly, keep any and all evidence of the stalking behavior in case you do end up in court or filing a restraining order.
Keep all text messages, emails, phone call logs, gifts, cards, etc. of the stalker’s contact with you. If he or she physically follows you, make a note of the time, location, and date and keep a detailed log of it. All of this information will be important if you have to obtain a court order to keep your stalker away from you.
Another good piece of advice is to be wary of using your technology when you are being stalked. Nowadays your cell phone, smart phone, and tablets usually have GPS location services and geotags checked as the default.
This will allow others to know what your actual location is by getting into your phone (easy to do for a cyberstalker) or even by looking at your social media profile (think of your Facebook status that indicates you are currently in Plano, Texas, at the Half-Priced Books on Preston Road). Go into your settings and disable the GPS location to prevent this from happening.
North American Investigations wrote a blog post on the subject and offered up several pieces of advice on how to best avoid cyberstalking. The best piece of advice on how to protect yourself from cyberstalkers is to change all of your account security information if you are thinking of leaving a relationship.
This is because former lovers, girlfriends/boyfriends, or spouses often do the stalking, so you want to make yourself and your assets as unavailable as possible. Another good tip is to don’t be afraid to hire professional help if your stalking situation escalates.
Hiring a private investigator may be the best way to handle the situation, said New York private investigator Darrin Giglio. “It may be the only way to actually catch your stalker,” he said, “because investigators have the knowledge, experience, and tools to devote 100% of their resources to your case.” This can help with your peace of mind as well as bring any stalking situations to an end quickly and safely. Private investigators are also able to help you build a case against your stalker so that any legal action is swift and there is no question that the person is breaking the law.
Many national nonprofit organizations are available to help and support victims who have been stalked. One organization, The National Center for Victims of Crime, even offers a free booklet online titled “Stalking: A Handbook for Victims.” It gives you very specific information on what stalking is, what it isn’t, and what you can do as a victim and as an advocate.
There are also several different national nonprofit organizations such as safehorizon.org, VictimConnect.org, and the Stalking Resource Center (http://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/past-programs/stalking-resource-center) that can help anyone deal with a stalking situation.
Disclaimer: This article was written by a guest author.