“More than a million British people are the victims of stalking every year.” At least that’s what a synopsis states introducing Channel 5’s newest binge-worthy series hitting our screens.
The first episode of ‘Stalked: Murder in Slow Motion‘ hits our screens tonight (February 5th) and it feels like another in a long list of disturbing series to hit our TV screens.
With the recent success of Netflix original series, ‘You‘, and the recent ‘Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes‘ series, murder, and attractive, controlling men seem to be a terrifyingly popular trend right now.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a self-proclaimed ‘Murderino’ (someone who religiously listens to the podcast ‘My Favorite Murder). I listen to many murder podcasts, read articles on psychological research of psychopaths in my spare time, and love discussing real-life stories and debating the inner workings of murderers.
But I would also hasten to add that I have a ‘healthy’ obsession with the subject. I enjoy discussing the psychological elements and trying to work out why somebody would be driven to commit the heinous acts that murderers do. I like to think that with enough knowledge I may be able to identify sociopaths and psychopaths in everyday life and as a result, ‘stay sexy and not get murdered’.
But a lot of people who professed how ‘hot’ Ted Bundy is and how they were “kind of on Joe’s side” in the ‘You’ series is evidence of a greater problem. Why are women attracted to these terrible men?
These men are clearly evil, psychopathic and messed up, but they are also good looking and charming. You watch them and you don’t believe that they could actually be capable of their horrible actions.
Because of this, I am scared that many women will not notice the signs when somebody is stalking them or controlling them. There are too many stories of women who have been murdered by their partners, and it’s usually once they have already left the relationship. (Watch the Channel 5 series to get more of a low down on the subject.)
With social media being such a massive part of our lives nowadays and with all of our information easily accessible, how can we stay safe from the Joe’s of the world?
The other day, my friend declared in despair, “I want to delete all of my profiles. How can I stop somebody stalking me but still be on social media?”
Well, while I can’t stop somebody from stalking you, I can give you some easy tips to stay safe and keep your peace of mind. These are lessons I’ve learnt from the many murder stories I’ve listened to over time, tips I picked up whilst watching ‘You’, and just from general common sense…
Don’t tag yourself in locations.
I mean, Joe still managed to work out where Beck was from just monuments in the backgrounds of her pictures, but at least don’t make it easy for a stalker to find you.
Never advertise on social media when you’re home alone.
It’s just asking for trouble.
Turn off your location on Snapchat.
Literally a tracking device for how to find you…
Make your Facebook and Instagram private.
If you want to keep an eye on who has access to your profile and pictures, then set your account to private. You will have to approve anyone who wants to ‘follow you’.
Before you get in your car, have a quick check of the back seat.
You never know if somebody has broken in and is waiting. It does happen.
Once you’re inside your car, lock the doors immediately to stop someone hopping in.
Many people have been robbed or attacked this way.
Always lock the doors to your house – patio doors and front doors alike.
Otherwise, anyone can just walk in… duh!
Don’t keep important information on your phone in case you lose it.
Once somebody has your phone they have easy access to your name, address, email, sensitive information in your inbox etc. Change all of your passwords for all your apps, accounts and emails immediately before anyone can gather any sensitive information.
If your partner, or somebody you’re dating, is turning up everywhere you go or seems to know a creepy amount about you… slowly back away and watch your back for a while.
If you’ve got a bad vibe about someone, then there’s probably a reason.
If somebody is actually creeping you out or being abusive or scary, tell the police as well as your friends and family.
It’s not OK if somebody is harassing you. You need to take action to try to deter them before things risk taking a nasty turn. People do stupid things when they are emotional, and if somebody has a nasty temperament then it’s not worth risking being in harm’s way.
It’s devastating that such terrible things happen to innocent people. I’m sure that nobody who has ever been stalked or killed has ever thought that it would happen to them. So keep yourself safe and do the little things you can to protect yourself and not advertise where you are at all times.
Social media makes it very easy for people to learn a heck of a lot of information on you, without you even knowing them (as proven in ‘You’). So protect yourself and keep things as private as possible.
Do you have any other tips on how to stay safe and make it harder for somebody to stalk you? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.