“He frequented the restaurant I waited tables at, and one day I opened my apartment door and saw him standing there with roses. It scared me, but I figured he was trying to be romantic…it never stopped. He harassed me for years.”
“I thought I’d finally escaped my abusive ex. We broke up, but he started showing up everywhere…I was terrified.”
“My ex-girlfriend wouldn’t leave me alone. She spread lies about me…and became violent. I had to press charges.”
These are excerpts from just a few of the emails I received after my Dating a Sociopath series. (Learn more about the series here and here.) While not all stalkers are on the sociopath spectrum, necessarily, it makes sense that obsessive personalities and these frightening behaviors go hand-in-hand.
As the stories rolled in, I knew I wanted to discuss stalking with an expert. Last week, I had the chance!
I sat down with Paul Bishop, a thirty-five-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, whose career has included a three-year tour with his department’s Anti-Terrorist Division and over twenty-five years’ experience in the investigation of sex crimes. He’s also a nationally recognized interrogator, an expert in deception detection, the author of fifteen novels and an all-around awesome person to talk to.
Here are just a few takeaways from our chat:
– Stalking is more than someone creeping you out or bothering you on occasion.
– So common, the LAPD created a department to deal with stalking, as well as one for cyber-stalking.
– Perpetrators, victims and survivors come in all genders and walks of life.
– If you suspect you’re being stalked, keeping a record is vital. Jot down incidents with dates and times to share with investigators. Keep photos, voicemails and other potential evidence.
– Civil restraining orders may fuel the stalkers’ behaviors, but they’re also often necessary for police work.
– Prevention is some of the most important and powerful self-defense.
– There are many ways to stay safer, such as not posting your current location online, practicing awareness when you’re in public (versus focusing on your phone, etc.) and driving to the nearest police station if you suspect you’re being followed.
– Your instincts are always worth trusting.
To learn more, stream our chat on iTunes or below! It also features wonderful insight from Dr. Megan, on how to support your partner when their experience being stalked is affecting your relationship.