How Stalking Impacts Victims’ Lives

About 7.5 million people are stalked each year in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men will be stalked at least once in their lives. These statistics show that stalking can happen to anyone. The impact that victims feel on their lives can last for months, sometimes, years after the incident started. While each victim is impacted differently depending on their past experiences, current situation, and how much they know about their stalker, research shows similarities among their experiences. The following demonstrates the most common effects that stalking has on victims’ lives.

What are the Signs of Stalking?

Stalking is when someone continuously threatens or harasses someone else, creating fear or concerns for safety. As technology and social media advance, so have the methods to stalk and harass victims. In most cases, victims are stalked by someone they know — either as an acquaintance, or more intimately. Many times, the stalker is a former partner, but there are cases where a stranger stalks the victim. Common signs to look out for that might indicate you are being stalked include: 

  • Receiving repeated, unwanted phone calls at home or work
  • Receiving repeated, unsolicited messages via text or social media
  • Finding signs that your home, car, or workplace have been disturbed
  • Finding strange letters, gifts, or objects that feel threatening
  • Learning that someone tried to find information about you from someone else
  • Discovering rumors or misinformation about you on social media or by word of mouth

If you’re dealing with a stalker who is particularly stealthy, you may not find clear signs demonstrating this behavior. But if you feel a sense of unease and worry that you can’t quite explain it, it’s wise to pay attention to that unsettled feeling and take precautions to stay safe. 

How are Stalking Victims’ Lives Impacted?

Both men and women can become victims of a stalker. Women, however, typically experience a stronger sense of fear than men. That can last long after a stalker has made advances. Victims of stalking are affected in many ways. Most often, the victims’ physical and mental health and social lives are negatively impacted after a stalking experience. 

Impacts on Physical Health 

A victim’s physical health can be impacted by the fear and anxiety that a stalker can cause. Some of the most common physical effects of being stalked include:

  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches from the constant stress
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal issues
  • Weight variations from not eating or eating for comfort
  • Heart palpitations and excessive sweating

Impacts on Mental Health

The worry and anxiety of having a stalker can significantly affect a victim’s mental health. Some of the most common psychological effects of being stalked include:

  • Self-doubt and confusion while questioning if they’re overreacting
  • Fear of being alone or that they or a loved one will be harmed
  • Feeling isolated and helpless to prevent harassment
  • Feeling anxious and depressed
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Social Impacts

Victims of stalking often have difficulty trusting and feeling safe in social settings. Some of the most common social impacts that victims of stalking feel include:

  • Feeling insecure and unable to trust others 
  • Difficulty being intimate in a relationship
  • Avoiding normal activities in life, like going to the gym
  • Isolating from friends and family to protect them
  • Moving away or changing appearance to hide from a stalker

How Do I Get Protection Against Stalking? 

In Florida, a person who is being stalked can request a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Stalking. The victim who requests the protective order is the petitioner; the person that the protective order is against is the respondent. Stalking victims can go to the circuit court where they or the respondent lives and complete the Petition in the presence of the circuit court’s clerk. There is no fee to request this protection. After filling out your Petition, the clerk takes the form for a judge to review that same day.

If the judge approves your Petition, he or she will sign a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Stalking. This protective order stays in effect for 15 days after the respondent has been notified by the sheriff or law enforcement. A court date will be scheduled to follow when the judge listens to both arguments and decides whether to make the protective order permanent. When you return for this final hearing, it’s imperative that you have a trusted injunction attorney on your side. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, a victim’s chance of securing a permanent protective order against stalking becomes significantly greater.

Speak to Trusted Injunction Lawyers in Orlando if You’re Being Stalked 

If a stalker has negatively impacted your life, you must seek legal help immediately. At Fighter Law, our skilled team of injunction lawyers specializes in helping victims of stalking get the protection they need. We understand how frightening and unsettling this experience is. That’s why we’re dedicated and passionate about fighting for victims to receive justice. We advocate tirelessly to get the best possible results for our clients who have been affected by stalking. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our attorneys in Orlando, complete an online contact form or call our office anytime at (407) 344-4837.


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