Episode #9 Transcript - How to Recognize and React to Stalking Behaviors


Kelly: In today’s episode, Doug and I are going to discuss stalking. I personally feel stalking behaviors and what to do if you feel like you’re the target of stalking is not brought up or talked about in a way that is helpful to the general public. I don’t know what you think about that, Doug.

Doug: Well, I think. People tend to think they know about stalking because they see it used colloquially in terms of internet stalking, or I stalked my ex, or, whatever. But I think they probably haven’t spent enough time defining it, thinking about what signs of it are, and then thinking about how they would respond.

Kelly: Right, and it’s crazy. When I was doing research for this episode, the CDC [00:01:00] has stats right on their website saying one in three women and one in six men have been stocked at some point in their lives. And another one that I thought was interesting when I talk about it’s not stalking is not talked about or brought to the general public’s awareness early enough or often enough is 58% of female victims and 49% of male victims experienced these stalking behaviors before they were 25 years old.

And we’re talking about when you’re just starting out in life. And I think that plays a big factor in maybe brushing off early warning signs, talking. In my opinion, it’s really easy to say that persistence was romantic. I said, “no, I didn’t wanna go on a [00:02:00] date with the guy in my class”, the girl in my class, but they… being persistent or showing up where I worked or sending me messages, sending me emails, calling my phone, texting me, and sometimes it’s viewed as flattery. Oh, they really must be into me even though I’ve said no repeatedly. And I think it gets portrayed in Hollywood as romantic instead of for what it is, and that’s why there’s a lack of seriousness.

To some of those early stalking behaviors and whether the intended target of those target stocking behaviors is brushing it off. Or if they’re sharing those experiences with another person and that other person is saying, “oh, you’re probably overreacting. You should be flattered they’re paying so much attention.”

Doug: It’s such a complex subject, I saw a [00:03:00] post today from an Instagram influencer who I won’t name, but who said that they had met someone at a… was attracted to this person at the bar, exchanged numbers, and then later on in the evening discovered that there was a fairly significant age gap between the two i.e. one of them was still in college, the other one was a working professional. And it was just an age gap that would be odd to everybody. Yet the younger party then proceeded to call the other party every week trying to encourage this person to come out on a date, and eventually that person said, you are so incredibly persistent.

I will meet you at the mall. And this went on for weeks. They eventually met and spent five hours walking around, fell in love and got married. And so they had this weird behavior that by most external observers would be viewed as [00:04:00] stalking. And in fact, the one party just thought it was incredibly off-putting but still allowed it to continue. And so it’s not just in Hollywood that you see that story take place on, on the screen. It does happen in real life, and I just think it puts a fine point on how complex these situations are and how situationally dependent they are and what our listeners need to know is if it’s not right to both parties, it’s not right. If there’s something off in it to one or the other party, then there’s something off in it and they’re… it’s okay for them to say, “this is not right.” This is something here. Is crossing a boundary. I think the other thing that has complicated the situation is the flip, the way in which people talk about the tools such as social media have given people to quote, stalk.

Right. And, and so when [00:05:00] people talk about, “Hey, I’m stalking my Best Friend’s boyfriend’s Instagram page,” they’re not really stalking that individual, not by any of the definitions that we would think traditional stalking would go by. And so that use of that language undermines the seriousness with which real stalking takes place.

So I think it just points to the fact that it’s an incredibly complex space. People need to feel safe in defining their boundaries and ensuring that they communicate those boundaries to others so that they stay safe and secure.

Kelly: Right, and I think to your point, what constitutes stalking if it’s used in a joking manner to say your example earlier that you stated, I am, “stalking my best friend’s [00:06:00] boyfriend’s Instagram.” Okay, so you’re looking at his photos, you’re looking at every photo or are you liking every photo?

What do you mean by stalking your best friend’s boyfriend’s Instagram page? Because if you search ‘what is stalking?’ I did a search on what Constitutes stalking, and I came across this article by Dr. Dale Hartley on Psychology Today. And it says it’s a pattern of behavior carried out by one person against another, which is intended to harass, intimidate, or terrorize the victim.

Now again, this is just one definition that I did a quick search on. Would you expand or add anything to that, or would you say that summarizes the stalking that we’re talking about the the negative impact…

Doug: So I [00:07:00] agree with him, in the sense that it is intentional behavior with an end goal in mind. I think he’s defined only the negative goals because… which are from the victim’s perspective. So harassment, terrorization, intimidation, and in fact, I think many stalkers don’t intend to harass, intimidate, or terrorize their victims. I think they may not at least start out recognizing that that’s what their behavior is doing, and then it can often formalize into an intent to do those things. But that is somebody who really is falling in love with somebody and it’s not reciprocated. I don’t think they’re intending to harass or intimidate that person.

I think they’re legitimately thinking at some level that they can get that person to fall in love with them and it’s only when they continue that behavior [00:08:00] behind. I would also add that it’s typically gonna be an obsessive behavior, a pattern of repeated events at an almost obsessive level so that that individual looking at their best friend’s boyfriend’s Instagram may not be stalking or it may be the intent matters and the nature of how it’s taking place. So it could cross from, “Hey, I did that once. I joked about it.” to “I’m looking at it on a daily basis to see what updates have happened.” One, stalking and one is not. I think stalking gets defined typically by the victim, not by the aggressor.

Right and an individual who thinks they’re being stalked needs to ask themselves a series of questions about this behavior they’re experiencing, and how does it make them feel? Right? Is there someone that, gosh, they tend to show up a lot when you’re not expecting them and it’s a pattern of [00:09:00] that.

Or is it a series of unwanted phone calls, thought that somebody’s been in your home or been near your office or in your car? Letters, gifts…

Kelly: That is, yeah. That’s so unsettling when you start to think somebody’s been in my space.

Doug: Right? So I think it’s understanding those things and then figuring out what that process is. Okay, so how do I handle this? What do I do? Where do I turn for?

Kelly: Right, and I was just pulling up another website in the office for victims of crime. And it specifically talks about stalking and it’s a crime of power and control. Would you say that’s more from the stocker’s perspective as a description of the power and control, or again, is that more from the intended target’s perspective?

Doug: Okay, so this is where not being a psychologist or [00:10:00] not being a law enforcement professional, I tend to think there are stalkers that legitimately are not engaging in a power or control basis. I think they are delusional. They may actually think this person is in love with them. I think I’ve dealt with stalker cases for, with celebrities and it a hundred percent was not a power or control in, in a couple of instances I’m thinking of.

And it was everything about, they were legitimately mentally ill and thought that this person was in love with them, had nothing to do with power or I know of other cases where clearly it’s about power and control. So I think those definitions are tough at the end of the day when they progress to the level of law enforcement involvement, oftentimes it’s full blown [00:11:00] into that power of control space.

But there are plenty of cases where it’s still stalking, where there’s no power dynamic in my in my opinion.

Kelly: Right, exactly. And like Doug mentioned, we are not licensed psychologists, psychiatrists. This is two individuals having a conversation about this. So we always refer to the professionals when it comes to asking more in-depth questions. One thing that I’ve had in situations with individuals who weren’t celebrities, who had questions about inappropriate stalking behaviors is what’s the difference between civil and criminal stalking statutes? And I, again, trying to do a quick Google online search. [00:12:00] what is, what does constitute the difference? When do it’s a civil matter versus a criminal matter and I was only able to find a couple articles on it. 

The articles were from criminal defense attorneys, so they were a bit of marketing pieces. One thing that I saw, I thought was real brief or, seemed a simple definition was criminal has to be proven from beyond a reasonable doubt so that can be proven. Whereas on the [00:13:00] civil side, it was just the preponderance of the evidence. So what that means is how it was more likely than not, that something occurred in a certain way.

Doug: But I think the other difference is criminal carries legal penalties with it, whereas civil is gonna carry at most punitive, financially, punitive, implications with it. And I’m curious why they were exploring the difference between civil and criminal.

Kelly: In the situation of an individual I worked with is they felt that they were doing everything they could from a civil side. And wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anything that they could take up to a criminal aspect. So could they go to law enforcement or had they been doing enough from a civil perspective?

And it wasn’t so much of making threats to physically harm this person or to their [00:14:00] safety, it was more of a harassment, almost like a blackmail, “Hey, if you don’t do X, Y, Z, then I am going to basically continue harassing you or make your your life uncomfortable pub from a public…”

Doug: …becomes criminal fairly quickly, I think. I mean, at…

Kelly: Well, but you have to go through the steps because that’s where I had reached out to the department that the police department, law enforcement, that would’ve taken that. And they’re like, has this individual done X? Have they reached out to a lawyer? Have they issued a cease and desist letter? Has that been served?

And that’s what I don’t, to me as a civilian, I’ve never had somebody walk through all of those steps or explain all of those steps of what I should be.

Doug: But on the civil side, somebody’s gonna have to walk through a series of steps. Also, ultimately culminating, I think, by most folks, understanding the civil process… So you’re either gonna [00:15:00] sue somebody to get them to stop doing something i.e. when somebody says something negative about somebody, they sue them for libel.

Or you’re gonna charge them criminally for doing something. And I think most of all, stalking cases are gonna end up on the criminal side of things. Whether the individual being stopped follows the process or not. At the end of the day, the strongest enforcement mechanisms to stop stalking or to protect the victims are gonna be when it’s in the hands of the criminal justice system, rather than on the civil side.


Kelly: Well, I think this leads to the, a good point that I like to let people know or remind them is when in doubt ask/call law enforcement, call an expert. And ask them, have I been doing the right things? Is there more that I should be doing? Hey, I don’t know if this [00:16:00] rises to the attention of law enforcement, but here’s what I’m experiencing.

Because those individuals are used to dealing with those cases, they’re gonna know the questions to ask you to find out where things are at and what your next steps should be. Actually I found five tips if you’re concerned about potentially being the victim of stalking. I’ll put ’em more in the episode key for this podcast episode so you can if you as a listener have concerns about a behavior that you’ve been the target of.

These are things to think about or questions to ask yourself. To start questioning. “Well, what does this behavior mean?” And first you have to ask yourself, have you explicitly and directly told the individual to stop [00:17:00] contacting me? Do they know? And this is… again, I’m from Minnesota, so we always joke about Minnesota.

Nice. We don’t wanna be direct or we don’t wanna offend anyone, but if someone continues to contact you after you’ve, you think you’ve told them, no, I’m not interested, or No, I don’t wanna go on a date with you. No, I don’t wanna connect with you, whatever it may. But then if you say, but we can still be friends, or, you leave a little, maybe there’s a chance.

So you’re saying there’s a chance you have to remove that? You have to be direct. Stop contacting me. Period.

Doug: So what you’re saying is if they don’t say that they can’t claim stalking.

Kelly: No, I’m just saying that’s one thing that you can… If you feel like someone’s persistent behaviors are starting to make you uncomfortable, personal [00:18:00] responsibility for your safety, have you explicitly and directly said, please stop talking to me. Please stop contacting me. You can use please, but has specifically said that, and then period, end the sentence, and no further communication from you because of a response.

It’s communication. So if they text you again and you say, I told you to please stop contacting me. Well, they just got a response from you. So it’s literally, please don’t contact me. End of story. And that’s the first thing that I say anybody can take action on their own.

Doug: I agree.

Kelly: Would you disagree or…

Doug: Oh, no, I agree. I think one of the things that most people do. When you ask them, have you told them directly? Their response often is, “well, no, they should know,” or “I’ve [00:19:00] indicated” right? When people start to say, “I’ve indicated that it’s unwelcome”, “Have you told them directly?” And most folks, when they really dig into it, go, “yeah, probably haven’t yet.”

And because it’s so uncomfortable to be that…

Kelly: It is and one thing that they talk about with stalking behaviors is to keep records, to keep track. So I would recommend typing that, “stop contacting me” in an email, in a written form of some sort in a text, so that way you can say, this time and date, I told them to stop contacting me versus.

Well, I said it when they, I saw them because then well, did anybody see you say that? Are you sure you, are you sure? You said, please stop contacting me. Or to your point, well, they should just know,[00:20:00] 

Doug: So I think it is being intentional and direct about it.

Kelly: Right? And number two, call the police if you feel like you are in danger or if you feel like this is worse, the behaviors are increasing or escalating because they will walk you through the questions to figure out your next steps. What should you do?

Doug: I guess one question I’ve got is… well maybe I’ll wait till you go through all of the list and then I’ll ask you about it.

Kelly: Okay, one thing that I liked on this list is if they say, “Okay, thanks for letting us know.” Sometimes they may refer you to a victim advocate for assistance who has more of the resources that they offer you of what to do now, what to do next. And then I [00:21:00] found out, the next step, the number three is if you need help finding resources because I can’t say that every police department is going to have this response if you call, and depending on where you’re listening from, there could be different trainings, there could be different policy/procedure that they’re supposed to follow. So there is actually a national Center for Victims of Crime hotline that you can call that as an individual.

It’s a toll free helpline, and they can help with resources. And so that number will be in the episode key as well as the website for getting information on that  then next, let those closest know what’s going on. Sometimes, some instances, staying quiet about the stalking behaviors is what the stalker wants.

They don’t want you to tell people what’s [00:22:00] going on. This is not necessarily saying post it out for the general public to know, the general population, about this in this instance, because sometimes those individuals want the notoriety, and this is… I would say that’s an extreme case. Would you agree with that?

Doug: No, I would agree. I guess part of these last three bullets, calling the police, looking at community resources and, and telling your friends point to the fact that getting through a stalking situation like this is gonna require a team around you, right? It’s generally not gonna be a one person show when you’re dealing with a serious stalker, and so it’s in recognizing the need for a team around you to help you with this.

My only real comment on that is I might move telling those closest to you up on the list before calling the police because they may be able to help provide guidance as to. [00:23:00] The right path through police or through community resources. But even in a small town, there’s gonna be resources available, a women’s shelter or other places where there’s gonna be some experience in training in how to deal with stalkers.

Kelly: And that’s one thing I love that you bring that up about going to a women’s shelter, advocacy, group of that nature. A lot of times what I’ve found is individuals don’t self delegate. I don’t know what the word would be, but they don’t see themselves as well. I’m a victim of stalking. It’s more of, well, this person is just really persistent and won’t leave me alone.

And so they don’t seek out the resources because in their mind, somebody who goes there has much bigger problems than they. Or again, they just say, no, that’s not for me. This isn’t that big of a deal. Yeah, and I think that’s [00:24:00] the really important part about building the support network is getting outside your own head because somebody else, your best friend, a family member might look at you and say, wait, you don’t think this is a big deal?

That is a big…

Doug: Well, or arguably you’re preventing it from becoming a big deal by dealing with it earlier in the process. At the end of the day, the police, the EMS, they don’t actually want to respond to emergencies. They would love to have nice boring lives where they go home every day having been bored, because that means that people were safer throughout it.

And so by taking personal responsibility for resolving this prior to it escalating, you’re actually doing the system a favor

Kelly: Yeah…

Doug: …as yourself…

Kelly: …and I think another role that those individuals that you inform, That are around you that are closest to is, it’s another set of eyes, it’s another set of ears paying attention to? [00:25:00]  Well that car now for the last week, has shown up and has parked down the road from our house. Or I’ve, your coworkers, Hey, I’ve seen the same person parked in our parking lot in the same vehicle, and they just sit in their car, but they don’t ever come in or, yes depending on your work environment. Maybe there’s somebody who sits at a receptionist’s front desk area, and so while you’re not there, while you’re maybe in back or just in another location in the building, don’t know this individual keeps showing up and coming to the front desk and being turned away.

Well, that would be important information. If somebody’s, if I feel like I’m being followed or stalked, I would want to know that they’re now showing up at my. Because that’s another method of communication, trying and attempting to make contact, and that’s information that you need to know as part of the overall evidence collection or tracking [00:26:00] or making notes of contact that is important to relay to that victim advocacy service or law enforcement.

Because let’s say it started out. With text messages or emails or direct messages, and now has gone to one-on-one contact, in-person contact. Okay. That’s an escalation of tactics. Okay. Now, before where it was more electronic communications, now they’ve figured out where you worked. Now they’ve figured out where you live or what vehicle you drive. Okay. That’s important to know that that continues, especially if you’ve been direct and told them to stop contacting me. so building that support network around you is really important and creating a safety plan. This can happen I think, at any point in this stage and actually should be.

Well, at least the first thing, changing up your routines and your routes that you [00:27:00] drive to work or to the places you regularly visit, that’s important in everyday life. Just changing up your routine, I would say in general but, and staying present when you’re out in the public, scanning your environment, looking around for anything that might be off or if you specifically know the individual who is showing these stocking behaviors. Be looking for their vehicle. Be aware of them if they’re in your environment while you’re walking down the street, while you’re walking to your gym, while you’re walking to the grocery store from your car, those transition areas, and, and then asking yourself, so if necessary, if they approach you, physically you’re walking down the street and they approach you and seems contentious. How are you gonna defend yourself? Again, this isn’t [00:28:00] necessarily how are you gonna physically fight them, but what would you do? What is your plan? How would you react? And then practicing this over and over again. Are there tools you’re gonna carry? Are there, what would you say?

How are you gonna get away to safety? If it does go physical, what are you gonna do?

Doug: Have a plan, I think, and throughout this, at each step, make sure you’re documenting what’s happened. Keep the receipts so to speak. And document your actions, but document the communications from the individual who is stalking you or the interactions as well. I think I’d also add, don’t be afraid to leave where you are.

If your safety truly is in jeopardy and it, and the individual knows where you live, don’t be afraid to temporarily relocate while resolving it, while escalating it through law enforcement and, and legal channels. Don’t be afraid to [00:29:00] evaluate whether putting a no contact order right in or restraining order in place is the right thing to do.

That’s gonna be very situationally dependent. In some cases, it, it will, it works well, and in other cases, it, it can be fuel to flame. And so I think you have to evaluate those things. But there are tools that you have in your toolbox that hopefully you can leverage before getting to the point of having to defend yourself at the end of…

Kelly: And I feel…

Doug: All of these cases, we’re trying to encourage anybody that’s evaluating whether they’re in the midst of this, to, to recognize that they hopefully have a path of escalation that they can pursue long before they ever have to defend themselves.

Kelly: Right. And going to professionals for help.

Doug: Yes.

Kelly: You don’t have to do this on your own. That’s another big thing is I feel shame that there’s some… [00:30:00] shame around people who are getting. Some of those stalking behaviors. At least the individuals that I’ve worked with, there were females.

Ironically, one specific case, the target of the behaviors was a female and the person, and this is where it gets started, we’re gonna say the alleged individual who was displaying these behaviors was also female and quickly… Just a segue because I think this is really important, is in the American Psychological Association shares a quarterly study or a quarterly newsletter pamphlet, I guess you would call it.

Well, what do they call it? Published quarterly. They don’t really call it anything… through the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, and back in September of 2021. They did a study on understanding female perpetrated stalking, [00:31:00] and there’s just not many studies where we focus on a female perpetrated or female stalker.

We tend to think or generalize that stalkers are male. And one thing that I wanted to highlight was the analysis of empirical literature suggested that female stockers pose a similar level of violence risk as their male counterparts. Although this risk is often perceived as non-threatening, I would say an easy way to say that is if it’s a female stalker, we just assumed she can’t be that dangerous or we feel more fear if it’s a male stalker.

So I thought that was interesting that a lot of times, and I think we’ve talked about this before, but were a female’s peer. Is often brushed off as not a big deal. Or maybe it’s flattery. It’s seen as flattery, especially if the target is a male. Oh, this. No, [00:32:00] I did not say that. You said…

Doug: But I think…

Kelly: …don’t think so…

Doug: It would be viewed in many circles as somewhat emasculating to admit that you had a female stalker who you couldn’t deal with.

Kelly: That you couldn’t deal with?

Doug: Meaning. Meaning?

Kelly: You were flattered and she just didn’t…

Doug: Meaning that you are afraid men aren’t supposed to be afraid…

Kelly: Oh, I see what you’re saying.

Doug: Right?

Kelly: Yeah. They can’t admit that they might be…

Doug: Correct. Or the other piece is how could a guy have unwanted advances or contact or communication from a female?

And trust me, you can.

Kelly: Yeah, it’s messages, it’s electronic communication. It’s showing up at your work, showing up…

Doug: Right.

Kelly: …at the places you go.

Doug: And if you’re not sure if you’re not sure if you should think of it as unwanted, ask your wife.

Kelly: There you go. Or a female in your life if [00:33:00] you’re a single individual.

Doug: Yeah, I think, I do think there is a bias against recognizing that. Men have to deal with the same issue and are not necessarily any better skilled at processing it and figuring out the right escalatory path.

Kelly: Do you think this would be a situation for the opposite test? If you thought that you were being stopped or you were thinking, “Hey, gosh, is this crossing the line? Is this it? Okay, so if it was someone of the opposite sex, would you feel differently? Would you be more afraid? Or is that more from a male’s perspective?

Cuz they brush it off or they don’t want to admit it?”

Doug: I don’t know. I’d have to think about that.

Kelly: Hmm.

Doug: It’s funny, we tend to take male stalkers seriously. My air quotes there and we tend to make fun of female stalkers, the thinking of [00:34:00]the idea of… I don’t remember her name with the female astronaut, traveling cross country…

Kelly: Oh yes, I remember that.

Doug: …became somewhat of a laughing stock. Yet, two things were real in that story. One, she was really stalking somebody and unwanted advances, et cetera. And two, that person was significantly mentally ill and needed assistance, and I think to make light of those situations ignores the seriousness with which these things need to be dealt with.

Kelly: And I’m trying to remember in that female astronaut case, I’m trying to remember what her intentions were of driving to the male.

Doug: I thought she was in love with…

Kelly: I feel like I’m recalling that she had intentions to harm… spouse or partner, [00:35:00] whoever he was with, because she wanted to get rid of competition.

Now, again, I could be wrong. I don’t have the case in front of me, the article or any stories in front of me, but it’s one of those two where, goes back to what I read from the American Association study is they have a similar level of violence. But it’s often perceived as non-threatening, where if it’s a behavior, it still should be run through the same five questions.

Okay, where are things at? How long has this been going on? What have been the methods of communication? What has been included? I think that’s a big thing too, about. Cases from a law enforcement perspective that I’ve heard from individuals who are in law enforcement who focus on stalking is, “well, what are they saying in [00:36:00] those communication mess messages?”

Are they threatening you with bodily harm? Do you have, I know a lot of things, when I was doing research for this episode was, or a lot of the articles information I was reading, How does it make you feel? And some of the symptoms that a target may experience include depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, all of these things be due to the stress of wondering what’s gonna happen next.

Again, to your point that you said earlier, that’s from a victim’s perspective. But still, I mean, I just wanted to talk about this because I feel like I hear so often there’s frustrations out there. Well, what else? I think from a female’s perspective that I hear often is, what else can we do?

We’re doing what we can as [00:37:00] women to try and stay safe. We’re getting those, not no contact. But should we not, because that is, is that only gonna make them more angry and that’s gonna actually escalate things and or it’s just a piece of paper. It doesn’t… a criminal or somebody with a predatory mindset, someone whose intentions are such, aren’t gonna see a piece of paper and say, oh, this is going to stop me.

That’s not gonna happen in every situation. Now I have heard debriefs and case studies. An individual, I think it was involving a news personality. And finally they said, has anybody talked to the person displaying these behaviors? Has anyone gone up to them and said, “Hey, knock it off”?

Doug: By anyone you mean from law enforcement?

Kelly: Yeah. From someone walking up and saying, “Okay, this is not okay. You need to stop doing this. You’re going to… the [00:38:00] next time or X, Y, Z happens and you’re gonna be breaking a law and we’re gonna be coming after you.” And then it stopped. That stopped them because they had almost gotten caught up in their obsession or their fantasy about wanting to see this person or meet this person that they lost touch with reality a little bit.

And so I always go to it depends. Context matters. Go to the professionals. Don’t for any of you the listening… If you have questions about something, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Don’t try and figure it out on your own. Cuz if you don’t have the expertise and the knowledge, you’re not gonna know what to do.

And that can be a really scary place to be.

Doug: Don’t be afraid to… if you get brushed off in your first attempts to reach out, particularly to law enforcement, you may just not have found the right person or [00:39:00] the person with the right level of understanding of how to deal with these cases. Try again. Find another resource. Find another path.

Kelly: That’s what I really liked finding that Toll Free number, National Center for Victims of Crime number. It’ll be in the episode key. So listeners, make sure you go to thediamondarrowgroup.com. Download the episode key from the podcast page that we’ll have. Make sure the number and links to some of these articles, the CDCs statistics, the Office of Violence Against Women’s Information Page, and this Toll Free number – call it.

That’s what they’re there for. That’s what they do, they help walk individuals. Next steps coming up with a plan. I would love to hear more of your input, Doug, since you said you’ve had experience with individuals. Now granted they were at a celebrity level, but how to create a safety plan. What does that [00:40:00] mean?

If I’m worried… let’s say I’m a single female. I’m a traveling nurse. I’m a traveling healthcare professional. And I’m worried. I have a stocker, so I am living in a rental. I can’t make a lot of physical security modifications.

Kelly: Changes. Yes, modifications. And I’m kind of stuck here. I don’t know a lot of people, I don’t have that support network necessarily.

Maybe I don’t live by friends or family, as pretty much coworkers. What are some things that you would suggest, too? Or to create a safety plan and that type of scenario.

Doug: I mean, so. What are we talking about? We are talking about somebody who has an active stalker who has already progressed to threats of violence or, are we just talking about [00:41:00] somebody who needs a general safety plan in place? 

Kelly: I guess 2. It’s always good to have a general safety plan in…

Doug: Having a plan for dealing with a natural disaster or having a plan for dealing with riots or other actions, like activities, having a plan for dealing with a specific singular threat. All of those can be variants of the same plan. Right? It’s thinking about though, what do I have to protect myself with, which could be a vehicle that allows me to leave the…At the end of the day, if you have that person has to uproot and move to a hotel for a period of time to get away from the residence, where the, that person might be being stalked, that could be part of their safety plan to physically extricate themselves from that space. It could be that they’ve taken the appropriate training and have the ability to deploy self-defense tools or weapons to [00:42:00] take care of themselves. It’s gonna be so specific to each individual’s life, but it’s thinking about, what, what do I have to protect? What do I’m, am I trying to protect it from, and what do I have to protect it with? And it’s thinking through and applying that decision process to those things in order to build out the safety plan with a few different branches, depending upon what the threats may actually…

Kelly: I like that… one specific thing I’ve heard that I think anybody living by themselves is to… and I know that this was more specific towards females living alone, but they said, leave a big pair of construction boots sitting outside your door on a muddy tray. They’re muddy and they didn’t come in and just like that.

Or put out dog dishes. Even if you don’t have a dog, put out a dog dish [00:43:00] outside. Do you think that actually works?

Doug: I think…

Kelly: …a scenario, physical safety or is that a false sense of…

Doug: I think it’s palliative security. I think it makes people feel better about themselves. Security theater, I’d rather them spend these $15 that lets them buy three alarms from Amazon that they can stick on their doors. That will… it’s not a permanent modification to the residents.

It’s all done with command strips and they are incredibly loud, and people buy them for various needs. They may buy ’em too. They’re kids leaving the house, but they work really good in your hotel room or in your rental, short-term rental or whatnot. And they’re super cheap and they’re battery powered and they are incredibly loud and disorienting and those sorts of things.

So I’d rather see them do things like that than putting a dog…

Kelly: Dog dishes.

Doug: Yeah. [00:44:00] Is it better than nothing? I don’t know. That goes back to the argent of the carrying the keys in your hand in the parking lot? Is it better than nothing? Yeah. Arguably. Is that meaningful? Probably not.

Kelly: Right. Well, and I…

Doug: And by the way, I think there’s real risk in thinking you’re safer because you’ve taken an action that’s not actually making you safer.

Kelly: Mm-hmm. I agree. That’s that false sense of security. Then you’re like, “oh, well, nothing will happen to me because…”

Doug: Right.

Kelly: Or this person is gonna be deterred by a pair of…

Doug: But personal security is a mindset challenge and a decision matrix. It’s not a set it and forget it lifestyle, it’s you. You’re not actually necessarily safer for just putting the door alarm on either, right? Or put installing a camera outside of your. You have to understand your why’s behind all those things.

Then you have to understand what do you do if those [00:45:00] things get tripped or triggered, and so there is no, no, silver bullet there.

Kelly: Right. And that’s a great point. No matter what it is, what next? Great. So your door alarm gets you like you said, I’ve got a couple of those and I’ve finally gotten to the point cuz I kept forgetting I bought extra and I’m just gonna put ’em in all of my suitcases for when I’m traveling so I don’t forget to bring them.

Okay, so the security, my security door alarm is going off. Somebody’s trying to get into my hotel room. Well then what? What next? Yes. Maybe it’ll slow them down. Maybe it’ll stop them temporarily. Maybe it’ll scare them completely away and they’ll run. But still what next? And asking yourself that question.

It’s so important in all aspects, that mental strategy, mental. What would you [00:46:00] do if that happened to you? How would you respond? What would you do next?

Doug: Again, going back to the discussion you’ve had in other episodes, talking about driving, right? We do that same thing where we’ve actually said to ourselves, and it starts in driver’s ed. Think about what decisions you’re gonna make if this thing changes or sits. What are you gonna do if it starts snowing on your drive, what are you gonna do if you see a ball thrown across the road?

What are you gonna do if a deer darts out? Again? We have that experience of applying that what if scenario analysis to it. It’s just applying it in other areas that you haven’t thought of. 

Kelly: Right, which I always like to say, it’s really what personal safety in building some of those. Personal safety skills. They’re life skills. They’re foundational life skills that you use in other areas of your life to be successful at communicating and carrying yourself with confidence, with [00:47:00] being present, being mindful, and building relationships.

And now we’re just showing you how to use ’em for your personal safety. So we will go ahead and put all of those. In the episode key, which you can download at thediamondarrowgroup.com, under the podcast tab of the website, daily habit. I think we keep going back to this. You gotta figure out what’s normal for you.

You’ve gotta be scanning your environment to understand what the baseline is. So the daily habit that we’re gonna put with this podcast episode is specifically scanning your environment. Okay. But what we’re looking for now are specific, what is normal in your environment. So whether you are that traveling, healthcare professional, what’s normal?

What’s normal around you? What’s normal around where you live, what’s normal in your work [00:48:00] environment, and to your point that you brought up in, Other episodes is it’s a practice that you have to make a conscious effort in, in order to build this skill over time to spot, well what’s the anomaly? Or, well, that’s odd.

I wouldn’t normally expect to see that here. Or it should be here in this environment, but it’s not. And that’s odd. That’s off. So daily habit for this episode is scanning your environment and getting. Accustomed to what is normal in your environment. Any last closing thoughts, Doug, before I wrap this up?

Doug: No, I think you covered it all today.

Kelly: I don’t know. I feel like we can talk about this subject so many ways. Oh, what if this, what if monkeys just… it depends. I think you said it best as you have to decide as an individual. So listeners, you have [00:49:00] to decide for. What is right, and if you are feeling uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to do something about it or seek help.

Doug: And corollary. Listen, when people are giving you that same feedback that your, your communication, your approaches, your contact is unwelcome.

Kelly: Oh, see, now you’re like, wait a minute…. We didn’t even talk about that. It’s self-reflection. Listeners, have you displayed behaviors, persistent behaviors, that maybe were unwelcomed and you didn’t wanna take? Hey, leave me alone for an answer. Well, yeah, I’ll add that down as another episode to talk about. Oh, I just had one other thought too. Now, Doug, this is real time. Have you watched I am a [00:50:00] Stalker on the Netflix?

Doug: I have a…

Kelly: …the I’m a Stocker series. I highly recommend that anyone who’s listening, check it out. Maybe don’t watch it right before bed.

But it’s interesting because they’re interviewing the people who are incarcerated for stocking. So they’ve been arrested and convicted of stalking.  Learning their perspective and what they thought about it. It’s also talking with the victims. But this is where I think it gives a very big, wide picture of how behaviors can be perceived as different depending on who’s displaying them, who’s the target, and who is doing the behavior.

So not that we’re endorsed by Netflix or anything, I just, I thought that was a really fascinating documentary series. So, anyway… Thrive Unafraid is brought to you in part by Mace. Their primary mission [00:51:00] as a company is to help keep people safe so that they can live confidently and go through life with that confidence.

They strive to provide community and family safety through individual empowerment, and so by partnering with this podcast and the Diamond Arrow Group together, we can help anyone live life unafraid. And so until next time. To all of you listeners, thank you. We appreciate your downloads every week. Make sure you leave a review, give us a thumbs up and share these episodes or any episodes that you like with your friends and family.

And if there’s something you want Doug and I to discuss, or talk about on the show, don’t hesitate to send us a message. Reach out. We’d love to hear from you. And bring up those topics and have the real conversations about the real threats to your safety that you face every day. So take care and Stay Sharp!