Did you know stalking is an offense? For the stalker, there may be numerous reasons to stalk someone but, the person being stalked goes through an unpleasant experience. Unfortunately, most of the times, it is a woman who is a victim. The victim can be a college or school student, a housewife or even a working woman.
Though physical stalking continues to this day, the problem is that the advent of the Internet has given the perpetrators a remote tool that they can use. Irrespective of the method of stalking a perpetrator uses, stalking remains a criminal offense in India. If caught, the perpetrator can face imprisonment for anywhere between one year and three years.
WhatsApp – the new breed of stalking instrument
In case you are unaware, stalking through WhatsApp is a real thing! Yes, it is happening, and it is happening quite frequently. Perpetrators show some classic signs that allow you to identify them quickly. Here are the five signs that you should look for:
The person always stays online on WhatsApp.
The person always remains the first one to send you a message the moment you go online.
The person is always the first person to notice your status message and ask about the relevance of the same.
The ‘tick’ sign immediately turns blue when you send that person a message.
If you upload a fresh profile picture, the person will immediately comment or message you.
Apart from these five classic signs, there can be other signs that can tell you whether a person is stalking you or not. For example:
The person always stays online but never talks to you.
The person gives you many missed calls on WhatsApp.
While these activities by a person put him or her under the scanner, there are more hi-tech methods that you simply do not know! You will never know that someone is stalking you on WhatsApp.
For instance, there is one software that will allow a person to stalk you on WhatsApp even if you have disabled things like ‘last seen,’ ‘status,’ ‘profile photo’ etc. Once a person downloads the software known as ‘WhatsSpy Public,’ he can know your in-app status even with your privacy settings turned off.
Using this software requires some technical knowledge because it can work only on jailbroken iPhone or rooted Android devices. But, some perpetrators have such knowledge!
Unfortunately, if someone is using such a hi-tech method, you can barely know that someone is stalking you.
What to do when someone is stalking you on WhatsApp?
You know what? Sometimes, ignorance is pure bliss. One of the simplest things that you can do is to block the person who you think is stalking you. Stalking through WhatsApp is possible only if a person is on your conversation list. Blocking that person will prevent that person from stalking you.
However, if the perpetrator is persistent, he can always resort to physical stalking. Physical stalking is even more mentally taxing for the victim. So, if you identify a person stalking you on WhatsApp, the best thing to do is file a police complaint. After all, your safety always takes precedence over everything else.
Filing a police complaint can be intimidating for women. There are many reasons like:
The victim may think that the police will not help.
The victim may fear harassment by the police. For example, the police may refuse to take a complaint or even go to the extent of asking uncomfortable questions.
The police may even want to know the location of the perpetrator. There is an easy solution to this. You can always track the mobile number of the perpetrator. You can and provide a rough estimate of the location of the perpetrator.
Even better, you can always take an online approach and file a complaint with the National Commission for Women or NCW. You can also directly call NCW. The commission is extremely powerful and can direct the state police to investigate into the matter with highest priority.