SEPS Co-Founder Gershon Ben Keren's Personal Safety Google Talk

Gershon Ben Keren was invited to present a talk at Google, after his book, "Krav Maga: Real World Solutions to Real World Violence" was published. In this talk he outlined many elements and parts of the SEPS framework for predicting and preventing violence. If you are looking to learn more about how to improve your personal safety this is great lecture/presentation to watch.

Self-Defense Books

The SEPS System is a personal-safey/self-protection system; it presents a framework and a set of tools that allow you to predict, prevent, identify and avoid violent situations before they occur. Self-defense systems are those that teach you how to physically defend yourself if you're unable to do this, or if violence is unavoidable. In, "Krav Maga: Real World Solutions To Real World Violence", Gershon Ben Keren, presents physical solutions and techniques to deal with violent assaults. You can get a preview of the book, and purchase it through Amazon by clicking here

Interviews & Media

NPR/WBUR Interview With Gershon Ben Keren

In 2013, a young South Boston women was abducted from her home and murdered. SEPS Co-Founder, Gershon Ben Keren was interviewed on NPR abou this, and was asked to prescribe what to do if you were to find yourself in an abduction scenario. To listen to this interview, please click here.

SEPS Personal Safety on Fox News

Gershon Ben Keren is regularly interviewed and consulted by the media, on issues of personal safety, security, and self-defense. In this interview he explains how predatory individuals select victims. To watch the interview, please click here.

Module 2 - Abusive Partners & Stalkers

Identifying Emotionally & Physically Abusive Partners & Stalkers

College/University years should be formative ones, where you enjoy freedom to find out and develop who you are, away from the eyes of your parents and family. This may also involve developing sexual and intimate relationships with others. Unfortunately, not everyone you may potentially meet and involve yourself with, will treat you with respect and as an equal. It is often unclear in the early days of such relationships, that they will turn toxic, and that you will be subjected to different types of abuse. This module looks at how to identify potentially abusive partners before you commit to being in a relationship with them, how you can end such relationships, and what the consequences of breaking up with such individuals may be. Fortunately, most potential boyfriends and partners are not such individuals - however apparent “Prince Charmings”, can have a dark side to them, and it is worth learning how to identify these individuals, before they start to express that side.

When we think about abuse within a relationship, our minds normally turn to images of a woman being hit or battered by her partner. This however is only one type of abuse that women can face, and it is worth taking some time to look at the different types and forms of abuse that can be experienced. One reason for doing this is that individuals involved in abusive relationships, often excuse or explain away their partner’s actions and behaviors, so that they don’t have to see themselves as a victim of abuse. When individuals are subjected to a traumatic experience, they will often feel ashamed that they were unable to control the situation. One of the worst things for us to experience is shame, and so to not feel this crippling emotion, we will often try to rewrite what happened, or try to take control of what happened, by blaming ourselves. This is what often happens when somebody is in an abusive relationship; they will either convince themselves that what they experienced wasn’t actually abuse, or that it was their fault, and they are to blame for what happened (this allows them to believe they had some control/input into their experiences). By understanding what abuse is, and defining it, it allows individuals who are experiencing abuse to be more honest with themselves about what is happening. It also helps friends, and possibly family members to understand what is going on, and offer constructive help.

Before we look at ways to identify potentially abusive partners in the early stages of a relationship, and before they become abusive, we need to identify the different types of abuse that someone may engage in, these are:

  • 1. Psychological Abuse
  • 2. Emotional Abuse
  • 3. Physical Abuse
  • 4. Financial Abuse
  • 5. Sexual Abuse

Psychological abuse takes the form of threats, which make you feel uncomfortable and/or unsafe. A partner may threaten you with consequences if you behave and act in a certain way. These might be “low level” threats, such as “If you go out with your friends tonight, I’m not talking to you” or “High Level”, such as “If you go out with your friends tonight, when you get back, I’ll give you a beating you won’t forget!” It is easy to discount low level threats, however understand that just as with high level threats, your partner is trying to control your actions and behaviors. An abuser may also threaten themselves, saying that if you do something, they will hurt or kill themselves; once again they are trying to control you.

Emotional Abuse, is that which effects your self-esteem, and your view of yourself as an individual. It may take the form of a criticism of something you’re wearing e.g. “You look like a slut in that dress” or be an insult about your weight or how you look, often with a comment about how lucky you are to be in a relationship with your abuser, such as, “You’re lucky to have me, nobody else would want to be with somebody as fat as you.” Emotional abuse is aimed at getting you to think and feel less about yourself, so that you value your partner more, and feel fortunate that they are interested in you. Understand that this type of abuse is to create a power differential, in what should be an equal relationship, with you as the minor player. If your abuser is successful in creating this power differential, you may end up believing that they are entitled to act how they want, and treat you as they please.

Physical abuse, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t have to even involve physical contact. If your partner blocks a doorway and prevents you from exiting or entering a room, it is a form of physical abuse – if a person, including your partner blocks your movement and prevents you going where you want to, this action can be classified legally as assault (if your partner were to block your movement and then hit you it would be assault and battery). Other forms of physical abuse, include snatching, locking you in rooms, etc. as well as physical assaults, such as slapping, hair pulling and punching, etc. Just as you shouldn’t discount low level psychological threats, neither should you excuse physical abuse that doesn’t cause you physical pain and injury.

Financial abuse can take many forms and vary considerably in degree. There is a big difference between having a boyfriend who has little money and tries to pay his way, but you end up paying for most things, and one who expects you to pay for everything, just as there is big difference between this first individual and somebody who feels entitled to go through your purse and take whatever money is in it. Although probably not relevant now, you should never let your partner control your finances, and even if at some point you feel that a joint bank account would be beneficial and relevant, always have your own account and keep money in it. One of the things which often keeps women in an abusive relationship – especially if they have children – is that they have no financial independence, and so find it difficult to both imagine leaving their partner and actually be able to do so.

If you haven’t already, college/university is usually a time when you will start to explore your sexuality, and have different sexual partners. Firstly, if you don’t feel ready to engage in a sexual relationship with anyone, don’t feel forced or pressured to do so, whatever your friends and those around you are doing. Be aware though that sexual abuse, does not have to involve forced sex, it can be something as simple as a partner refusing to wear a condom, or pressuring you into sexual acts you are not comfortable with. It could also include pressuring you into sending them “naked selfies”, which may seem harmless at the time, but may have more serious consequences for you when the relationship ends. In extreme cases, your partner may want to trick you into sleeping with other men for money. Many abusers will use peer pressure to get you to engage in acts that you don’t really want to perform or take part in; they may tell you that everybody does this, or all their previous partners have done this, etc. They may try and make out that you are sexually abnormal, and even threaten to find someone else to do these things if you won’t (psychological abuse). If you are not comfortable with something, then your partner should respect this. Just as there should be no power differentials in your everyday relationship, there should also be none in your sexual relationship. Sexual experimentation is natural, however it should never push you out of your comfort zone.

If anything you have read so far resonates with you, you should evaluate your relationship, and where you stand in it. Take a moment to be honest and identify if there are major power differentials in your relationship, that you excuse and justify some of your partner’s actions and behaviors e.g. it’s because he’s tired, or it’s because he’s stressed about his coursework, etc. Be especially aware of excusing and explaining things he does to your friends, and concluding that they don’t understand him like you do; abusers will often try and make out that your relationship is special, and that others don’t understand what the two of you have, and are in fact jealous about it. Don’t dismiss how your partner treats you simply because you have strong feelings for them or possibly love them: your feelings and their abusive acts are not connected, however complicated you may feel your situation is.

The Profile of Abusive Individuals & Identifying Them

Abusive individuals tend to see the world in very simple terms; things are very black and white to them. They understand what their role in the relationship is, as well as your role. In their eyes, your job in the relationship is to fit into your role, and play your part in the relationship. If you don’t – and it will literally be impossible for you to do so – then you are not investing in the relationship, like they are, and that’s a problem: they are being the good partner, you’re not. They will also invest a lot of time and effort speculating the reasons why you’re not acting and behaving like you should, and may draw conclusions that are ridiculous to you, but make perfect sense to them. With such individuals, no grey areas can exist, and there has to be a reason and explanation for everything, and all of these reasons and explanations are in some way connected e.g. the reason you were 5 minutes late to a date, is connected to a conversation you told them you had with a fellow student a few months ago, which is connected to a phone call from a number you said you didn’t recognize, etc. All of these individual pieces have been joined together to form one big conspiracy, which explains everything. Because they now know the “truth”, whatever you say doesn’t really matter, all they want is for you to confirm to them that their reading of things is accurate.

Because of this they will search out inconsistencies in your story, however minor. It might be that you were late in meeting them somewhere, and you first explain your lateness by explaining a lecture overran, and later on say that the bus was late. This will be seen as you changing your story, even though both contributed to your lateness, and it was the lecture overrunning that was the main reason for you being late. Your partner will probably question that if this was the case, why you didn’t mention the bus originally. You should prepare for a long evening/night of questioning, and to have your lateness linked to some other previous event, etc. However much you try and help them straighten out what you said, they will have moved on to trying to fit it in with everything else, and will not be listening to your explanation.

Not everyone who sees the world in this way is an abuser, however most abusers share this outlook on the world, and have a blueprint for what your relationship should be with them, and a roadmap for the relationship itself. This allows for them to share with you their (and your) plans for the future, at a very early stage in the relationship; they don’t need to spend time actually finding out who you are and what you want, they know that you’ve bought in to the relationship, and are performing a particular role. Your own personal plans and goals, are pretty much irrelevant, and although they may be worked in, they are nominal and not significant. Any disagreements you may have with your partner will be taken as you rejecting your relationship with them in its entirety, and this is where the abuse may start e.g. they may start making threats and/or using emotional abuse, so that you question your own worth, and feel/believe that you are lucky to be part of the plan. The whole experience might be so upsetting and draining, that you learn not to try and alter their idea of what the relationship should be; this is the start of adopting a victim mindset.

It may seem at first flattering to meet someone who has a clear idea of their future, and wants to commit to you, and involve you in it, however remember this is not a shared plan, it is simply an expression of how they see the world, and how their partner should fit into it. If you meet someone who makes big plans for you both at a very early stage in the relationship, you should take this as a warning sign. Such individuals rarely if ever change how they see the world, so it is unlikely that however much you like or feel for this person that you’ll be able to change them. You may want to consider whether you want to spend your college years with someone who thinks and behaves like this.

Just as these individuals make and talk about big plans at a very early stage in the relationship, they will often give big gifts and presents, which are far in excess of what would be expected in the early stages of dating. If you are given a gift which seems too expensive, and makes you feel uncomfortable, you should start to consider some of their other actions and behaviors and what these may be indicative of.

Another common thing that abusers will do is to try and separate you from your friends, and any social groups that you may belong to. Part of your college/university experience should be meeting new people, and spending time with friends, and involving yourself in groups that engage in activities you enjoy - whether that’s drama, playing sports or working on the university/campus radio station. Your partner will want to prevent you from doing these things. In their view, the relationship you have with them should meet all the diverse needs you have e.g. to be creative, to be part of a team, to have a social life, etc. For them, the relationship they have with you satisfies – or should satisfy – all their needs, as it should yours. In their mind, if you want/need to spend time with friends then something in the relationship must be missing; either because of an inadequacy on their part, or because you’re not investing enough in the relationship e.g. if you were truly committed to the relationship you wouldn’t need to spend time with your friends.

The other reason that abusers don’t want you to spend time with others, is because they don’t want you to be exposed to ideas and opinions that could cause you to question the relationship, and your role in it. Abusers know that your friends don’t like them, or think that they’re not good for you, etc, and they don’t want you to start thinking that you could maybe do better than them, or that there’s something wrong with them. Also, your friends are a support network to you, and if you have them, you have something to go to, if you leave the relationship. If your partner can isolate you so that lose contact with friends, then if you were to leave them, you’d have no life to go back to. If a partner feels threatened by your friends and doesn’t want you to spend any time with them, and in fact spend all your time with your partner, be very suspicious.

They may start trying to isolate you with simple emotional blackmail. Imagine that you have arranged to have a girl’s night out with some of your friends, and a few days before, you tell your partner this. They may well start pressuring you to go out with them instead, telling you that they get really lonely when you’re not there, that they haven’t got anything to do that night, that they’d planned a special night for the two of you, etc. It may be that you concede, and agree not to go; you may tell them that this once you’ll stay with them, but the next time everyone goes out, you’ll be going. This process will be repeated with the threats and the emotional blackmail getting more extreme, and you’ll probably end up giving in again and again until your friends stop bothering to invite you.

Another tool that abusers use is to revise things you’ve said, or tell you that you never said certain things e.g. if you inform them that you are going out on a certain night, they may tell you, that you told them that the two of you would go out that night. It may get so bad that you think you are losing your mind, and you end up letting your abuser control you by telling you what you have and haven’t said. At the end of the day, abuse is about getting you to comply with your abuser’s demands and requests; it is about control. Your abuser may also genuinely revise things that have been said or have occurred due to their need to make everything make sense. It could be that your partner asked you a few weeks back if you wanted to go and see a particular band play on a certain night. At the time you said “maybe”, as you weren’t sure if an old school friend would be in town that night. As it happens, they’re not going to be, and you forget to tell your partner that although you are free that night, you don’t feel like going to the gig and would rather go out for a meal instead. A few hours before the doors open your partner turns up at your room, ready to go to the concert. You try and tell them that you never agreed to go, that the most you committed to was “maybe”, however they emphatically assure you that you did in fact say “yes”. The problem is that “maybe” is a kind of grey area word, that doesn’t really fit into the vocabulary of somebody who sees the world in black and white. This means “maybe” has to get re-written as an absolute yes or no, and because it’s something they want to do, they reassign it as a “yes”.

The need for constant communication and updates as to where you are and what you are doing is another warning signal you should take note of. Once again, in the early days of a relationship, it may be flattering to have someone showing an interest in you, and texting you to find out what you are doing and where you are, however with abusers, this behavior soon develops into a form of control, where you find yourself having to “check in” with your partner and keep them updated as to your whereabouts, who you are with, etc. You may not at first recognize that this is what you are doing; your partner may send texts when they don’t hear from you, that they’re worried something has happened to you, etc. After this has happened a few times, you may find yourself just checking in with them every so often, so that they don’t have to worry about you.

This may be as far as the abuse goes e.g. psychological and emotional abuse, however your partner may also be someone who is prone to physical abuse. Physical abusers have some other character traits that can give them away in the early stages of a relationship. Physical abusers tend to be underachievers who believe they deserve better. They have a high sense of self-worth and believe that others should recognize them for who they are. The fact is that their inflated opinions of themselves are not shared by the rest of the world. They may be the student who consistently gets C’s but believes they are actually A-grade material, they may be the most average Football player, who somehow believes they are the team’s best player, and should be in the starting line-up every match. These individuals are genuinely baffled as to why they aren’t enjoying the success they feel entitled to, and have moments when they start to question why this is the case. This introspection often leads to anger, as they both question their view/idea of themselves and at the same time, come to the conclusion that they are not to blame for their situation but those around them are, such as their professor, their football coach, etc. Such individuals are unable to take responsibility for their shortcomings. In these moments they may lash out at those they love and care for, displacing their anger at their situation onto their partner; somebody who they know is likely to forgive them and unlikely to fight back. Part of their anger comes from a sense of fear at possibly losing their girlfriend/partner – they recognize that they’re not able to control their own life, and fear losing control of their partner’s (ironically they use something that should push their partner away to further control them).

It is worth noting that this is an issue around self-esteem, rather than about anger, as in other situations the same individual may not become emotional and aggressive e.g. they may not get angry when somebody cuts them off in traffic, or when somebody spills a drink over them, etc. - things which would normally trigger somebody who has anger management issues. Physically abusive partners will normally look for something about their partner, or that their partner has done in order to justify the violence they use. They will often tell their partners that it was their fault that they assaulted them e.g. they may accuse them of looking at other guys, dressing provocatively etc. and had they not behaved or acted in this way then they wouldn’t have assaulted them. This is of course not the case, however many physically abused women believe that they in some part are responsible for the abuse – as was stated earlier people who suffer trauma, often try and find ways in which they had some control over the situation, and one way to do this is to blame it on their own actions and behaviors.

Soon afterwards though they become apologetic, and start to express how sorry they are and how it’ll never happen again, and so the cycle of abuse begins or is repeated. The truth is that men who hit women repeat the same abuse, over and over again. Unfortunately, their promises can’t be believed however sincere and remorseful they seem. Many first-time victims they want to believe their abuser, and normally continue the relationship. They may do this for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • 1. They don’t want to see themselves as a victim of abuse
  • 2. They believe their abuser, that they are to blame
  • 3. They’ve already invested so much into the relationship they don’t want to end it
  • 4. They don’t want to admit to friends/family that they were right about their partner
  • 5. They believe their abuser won’t hit them again

In truth it is rarely just one reason, but a mix of several. Once they take their abuser back or agree to stay with them, there is what is referred to as a Honeymoon Period, where the abuser, pays extra attention to their partner, reduces their control over them somewhat, buys gifts, takes them on dates, etc. and generally paints the picture of a reformed character – they may even believe themselves that they’ve changed. Unfortunately, this period doesn’t last (and gets shorter and shorter the more times the abuse goes on) and a Tension Building phase begins, which sees the abuser start to engage in psychological and emotional abuse (and possibly non-injurious physical violence, such as smashing things, snatching things, and physical intimidation), and having less violent, but still aggressive, outbursts of anger towards their partner. At the end of the tension building phase is the Explosion, where there is an incident of violent physical abuse. Then the apologies and promises start again.

Many men who physically abuse women blame it on alcohol. This reflects on their inability to take responsibility for their situation. Whilst alcohol is not to blame, many abusers use it as a way to emotionally cope with their perceived under-achievement. The increased use of alcohol through the Tension Building phase, is a good indicator of the inevitability of an Explosion. If you find yourself more frequently agreeing with your partner that they should enjoy better recognition than they do, and find yourself arguing the case that your boyfriend/partner has been unlucky and deserves better to friends and family, then you may be getting close to an explosion.

Just because your partner engages in violent physical abuse doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t love or care for you, which is one of the reasons why it can be extremely difficult to end the relationship. However, abusive people rarely change. Their view of the world and how it operates is a fundamental part of their personality, and they rarely believe that they need to change, regardless of what they may tell you.

Breaking Up with Abusive Partners

The earlier on in an abusive relationship that you can end it, the better. The longer a relationship continues, the more your partner will have invested in it, and so will find it harder to let go. Most abusers, physical and non-physical, invest everything they have into the relationship, and will not want to see it over. Also, when the relationship ends so does the control they have over you, and this is often something they will try to hold on to –many abusers end up stalking their ex-partners. This is why it is important to make sure, and in no uncertain terms, that the relationship is over. Because of this, it is better to be cruel to be kind rather than let them down gently.

When you break up with your partner try to do it in person, rather than in email, text or by phone – that said, if they are prone to violent outbursts then one of these methods will be safer. Choose a private place, and pick a time which won’t adversely affect other things in their life, which they may later blame you for e.g. don’t break up with then just before they go into a major exam, etc. The most important thing is to stay focused on ending the relationship, and making it clear to your partner that it has ended for good; that it is not a trial separation. You should avoid giving specific reasons why you are breaking up, as these can always be argued against e.g. if you tell them that one of the reasons you are finishing with them, is because of their constant criticisms of you, they can argue that they were only joking, that you were too sensitive, or that they could change. You are then distracted by talking these things through, rather than simply ending the relationship.

Avoid using classic break up lines, such as, “It’s not you, it’s me”, as your partner will interpret this as saying that they don’t need to change, but you do; and they’ll be more than happy to help you put those changes in place, so that the relationship (you wanted to end) can continue. Lines such as, “we both gave it our best shot but it’s not working”, can easily be argued round to the fact that you didn’t give it your best shot, and it’s worth trying again, etc. Saying that you’re not looking for a relationship at this time, means that at some point in the future you will be; you’ll find that your partner is prepared to wait. At the end of the day, you need to tell them that the relationship is over, it doesn’t work for you and it never will. It is also worth telling them that you need some time to yourself and you’d appreciate it if they didn’t contact you. If they ask if you can still be friends, hard as it is, you may be best telling them no. With abusive individuals, you need to make a clean break and ensure that they have no reason to believe that they can continue the relationship with you, in any shape or form.

Stalkers & Stalking

Unfortunately, there are those individuals (both abusive and non-abusive), who are not able to accept that a relationship has ended, and try to carry on the relationship by stalking their ex-partner. It used to be thought that it was only celebrities and famous people who had stalkers, however the majority of stalking incidents involve ex-partners. Whilst you may be stalked by a stranger or an acquaintance, we will present stalking mainly from the perspective of dealing with an ex-partner. In saying that, the actual methods for dealing with stalkers are largely the same, regardless of your relationship with them.

What constitutes stalking is defined not by the stalker’s actions and behaviors, but how they make you feel e.g. an ex-partner could send you flowers every day for several months and you might judge this as harmless and non-threatening, however another ex-partner could send you flowers, monthly on the day in the month when you first met –such as every month on the 22nd – and this less frequent activity, might cause you extreme anxiety and fear; in which case this partner’s repeated actions and behavior would constitute stalking. Stalking involves repeated actions and behaviors that make you feel unsafe.

A stalker’s end goal might be unclear, even to them; what may start out as an attempt to convince you to restart the relationship might at some point change and become a form of punishment for ending the relationship, which in turn might end up as a way of continuing to have some type of continued relationship with you. When stalkers start a campaign of stalking, they may think they know what they want, but over time this can become lost to them. This is one of the reasons why you should never contact and engage with a stalker; nothing they are doing comes from a rational or well thought out place, and so to try and reason with them and make them understand the futility of what they are doing, along with the pain, inconvenience and anxiety their actions cause, is a waste of time. Many victims of stalking arrange to meet their ex-partner stalkers to explain why they ended the relationship, why the stalking activities need to stop, etc., only to find their words falling on deaf ears.

The most straightforward, simple and proven method for dealing with stalkers is to stop all communication with them. These individuals are attempting to continue having a relationship with you, and by responding to them you are in effect having a relationship with them albeit one you don’t want to have; don’t answer their phone calls, don’t answer their emails, don’t arrange to meet them, etc. Without feedback and communication, it will be hard for your stalker to maintain a relationship with you. This is easier said than done, as you will have to suffer the unfairness of your situation without being able to explain it to them, and this can try many people’s sense of justice. However, when dealing with a stalker you should be more concerned with being effective than being right, and not communicating with them is the most effective default method.

One of the things you will want to do, when you realize that you are being stalked (it is better to do this sooner than later) is to start keeping a diary of all of the incidents of stalking that you experience. It is worth noting anything in the diary that appears out of the ordinary, even if you think it’s not relevant, such as a light that is no longer working outside the entrance to your halls of residence, etc. Below is a list of some common stalking activities, which you can use to give yourself an idea as to what a campaign of stalking may involve (it is unlikely that you will experience some of the more extreme and criminal acts, but it is worth being aware of these):

  • 1. Constant Phone Calls, Emails, Texts, etc.
  • 2. Phoning you and hanging up
  • 3. Sending Letters & Gifts
  • 4. Stealing your mail (if applicable)
  • 5. Vandalizing your car, house, etc.
  • 6. Befriending friends and family members (possibly using social media)
  • 7. Spreading lies and rumors about you
  • 8. Spying on you
  • 9. Loitering outside of places they know you go to
  • 10. Trying to take the same classes as you
  • 11. Sending photos of themselves
  • 12. Posting photos of the two of you on social media
  • 13. Making false legal allegations against you

If any of these things or similar happen to you note them down, recording the time and place and anyone who was with you at the time, and could act as a witness. A stalker is looking to provoke you to make a response, and however strongly you feel, you should resist the urge. There are certain things you can’t stop them from doing, such as posting old photos they have of you on social media, or trying to take the same classes as you, or even making false legal allegations against you – these are things you will have to deal with, such as informing friends that the rumors being spread about you are not true, and potentially having to deal with the police or attorneys, etc.

The reason you want to collect and record all of this information is that there may come to the point where you genuinely fear for your safety and need to get the Campus Police involved. Unfortunately, you will need a solid body of evidence to present them, in order for them to do anything. This should be seen more as a last than first resort, and only after you have tried not communicating with them for a period of time. Your college and university has a responsibility under Title 9, to alter yours and your stalker's schedule, through to expulsion of your stalker etc. if your personal safety is compromised.

Some of the things in your control involve the lines of communication that you use, such as your email account(s), your mobile phone and your social media accounts (be careful about posting information that your stalker could use against you). If your stalker is continually calling you either to talk or hang up, or constantly texting you, they are doing so because they want you to think of them every time your phone rings, or you see you have new messages. This is both extremely intrusive and stressful. If you change your number and your stalker realizes that they can’t reach you by phone, they will try and find out what your new number is – and stalkers are extremely resourceful, using your friends, family members and online resources to provide them with this information. Rather than change numbers, get another phone, and whilst keeping your other phone active, switch to using this one. Periodically go through voice messages and missed calls, and then inform the individuals who you wish to keep in contact with, of your new number. This way, you can deal with your stalker’s messages and voicemails in your own time, and be in control of this method of communication. Eventually, your stalker will be the only person using that phone number. Don’t delete voicemails and messages, because these and the call logs will be useful evidence if you need to involve the Campus Police.

You can take a similar approach with your email account e.g. creating and using another whilst keeping the old one still active. It is probably wise to stay off social media for a while, and tidy up any accounts you have existing that might contain information that could be used against you.

As annoying, invasive and unfair as being the target for a stalking campaign is, most stalkers do not become violent. Stalkers want to continue and prolong the relationship they have with you and to resort to violence would promptly end it. This doesn’t mean you should not take every safety precaution you can, and put yourself in a position (by keeping an incident log) that, should things take a bad turn, you have enough evidence to allow the college authorities and campus police to act. However, if you cut communications completely it is likely that your stalker will soon lose the desire to continue their campaign. Stalking requires time and effort, and many people who are pursuing college degrees (if your stalker is a fellow student), find they have limited time to engage in an intensive campaign against you, with the majority losing interest fairly quickly.


Prevention is always better than the cure. You should now have a pretty good idea of the characteristics and behaviors of potentially abusive partners. At the heart of all abuse is the need for control, and when this control is lost, such as through the relationship ending, such individuals may end up engaging in stalking activities. By avoiding involving yourself with controlling and abusive individuals, or ending it at the earliest warning signs, you go a long way to preventing yourself from becoming a victim of stalking.

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