“So I checked this person’s insta page the other day… but I swear I’m not an online creeper it was just a quick look.”
Most of us will have accounts on social media we decide not to follow but will occasionally browse (you’d be lying if you said you didn’t). However, if we’re being honest, pages which aren’t set to private are subject to attention like this which is something we are all aware of. What I’d like to address today is online creepers/stalkers; individuals who either obsess over someone or give them unwanted attention, and in this instance, via the internet.
I have had a personal experience of an online creeper and several different social media accounts being made in attempt to contact me. This individual was initially someone I liked platonically and that developed. The turning point for me was firstly him springing it upon me that he was “bored” with his girlfriend on holiday, and wanted me to sort it out for him. I had no idea he had a girlfriend…I then heard how he spoke about my racial identity and that was it for me. So I just stopped replying to messages, unfollowed on social media etc etc. I eventually forgot about him but then he made a habit of messaging me every month or so, demanding I saw him, asking me for my address…
I was frustrated. I just wanted him to leave me alone, I didn’t have time for an online creeper, frankly. Sometimes it can be hard to be firm with someone unpredictable and that you don’t know too well. I also felt his behaviour was quite erratic due to how he spoke to me and reacted to me when I would politely declined. I was scared how he’d respond to me telling him I’d had enough, until one evening, he sent a photograph of a girl in his bed saying he didn’t need me anyway. The remarks he then made about the girl were disgusting. At this point, I told him enough was enough and he pretty much begged me, telling me he needed me. I told him he was crazy so he proceeded to threaten me. A harmless conversation months before had now turned into something very serious. After receiving advice from student services at my university (he is at the same university), they recommended I message him to say I don’t want any more attempts of contact, then to block him on all platforms. I did this and since then I have been contacted 3 times on different accounts, being asked why I’ve blocked him and that he wants to talk.
I guess anyone experiencing unwanted attention or threatening behaviour from an online creeper, will question and analyse their actions, and why they are now victim to this. Well, first of all, you are allowed to talk to whoever you wish and once that person acts in a way that you don’t like, stepping away is completely acceptable. They can ask you why, but to keep pursuing you after this is wrong. Entitlement is a big part of it. Some men are VERY persistent and may feel this sense of entitlement when it comes to your attention, time, effort and anything else they may want to benefit from. But, what we must all understand is that the only entitlement that should exist is yours. You are entitled to keep yourself safe and out of reach from anyone’s unwanted attention. You do not have to tolerate anybody you do not wish to.
What can be difficult is that initially you may have spoken to this person and had given the impression that you liked them – or more than that. However, the moment you feel this persistent behaviour towards you, it is okay to change your mind. You can feel threatened, confused, embarrassed, annoyed, angry and even guilty when you start to receive this attention. I guess, it’s hard to know how to react because, if you’re like me, you don’t want to be malicious. But know it is okay to report it, and no matter how you feel there’s a way to help/deal with it.
Depending on the behaviour you are facing there are several options we advise you might want to consider when dealing with an online creeper or unwanted attention.
BLOCK, DELETE, REPORT – This should apply to anyone. This is the first step to preventing recurrence. Yes, people may persist and continue to contact you but if you cut off this contact initially, they should get the message. If not then one of the following suggestions is maybe better.
Keep evidence – Anything that happens, take note of dates and what is said/done. Screenshots, pictures, whatever you can. This will help you if you decide to report the person.
Speak to someone rational – This isn’t meant to sound condescending. I didn’t realised it was a problem until I spoke to one of my closest friends about it and he made me see how ridiculous the matter was. Don’t be ashamed, someone who genuinely cares about you and has a level head will help you work out how to deal with it.
Report it – If you are at school/college/university there should be a team, usually student services, who can help deal with a range of issues and this included. I found this helpful but only to a certain extent. If things become serious and their actions as an establishment aren’t helping you at all then this maybe isn’t the best option for you. However, if you have to exhaust all resources then so be it.
Taking legal action – It is all relevant to your individual situation but reporting the person to the Police is strongly advised when it comes to being harassed. Use common sense when deciding on whether this is the right decision for you. The Police will want evidence enough to investigate/warn/prosecute the person so talking to someone you know is rational as previously mentioned should help you decide. There are many things this could do such as restraining orders, criminal records, even sentences in some circumstances.
Call one of these helplines –
Women’s Aid Federation of England 0808 2000 247
National Stalking helpline 0808 802 0300
Victim Support 0808 168 9111
Paladin NSAS (National Stalking Advocacy Service) 020 3866 4107
Sometimes it can be hard to know whether something will stop your online creeper/stalker, but know that you do not have to tolerate any unwanted attention, stalkers or online creepers. As women in today’s world, the lines are very blurred for us about what attention we “ask for” and what attention we cannot help. However, this is all nonsense, if we are clear to ourselves and the other person we do not want contact. There are actions we can take to stay safe and unbothered, however, it is inevitable these situations will crop up. The key is knowing how to deal with it as soon as possible. It can be difficult to accept people’s behaviour sometimes, so it may be a thought to weigh out the whole conversation or situation that led up to that moment in order to reassure yourself you aren’t going crazy. These individuals are not and were never entitled to you and you are not in debt to them.
Written by Jessamy Alice