How to Protect Yourself from Harassment by an Ex

July 26, 2022

Everyone knows that breakups can be difficult, but it’s no excuse for any kind of harassment. 

Harassment by an ex partner takes many forms and any gender can be responsible. It’s often a serious offense that can have a massive impact on someone’s well-being. 

If you’re experiencing harassment, we’re here to help you with an easy-to-follow guide that explains what rights you have and how you can protect your privacy and security.

What are the different types of harassment 

As we’ve mentioned, harassment can come in many forms. Identifying and understanding what constitutes harassment, and what to do in such a situation, is vital. 

Some of the most common forms of harassment you might encounter from an ex include: 

  • Stalking – an ex partner might stalk you or loved ones, following you, appearing at your home or work, visiting places you frequent, or checking up on you online.
  • Cyberbullying – this refers to any sort of online harassment, including online messages, hacked accounts, or personal information or images shared without your consent.
  • Hate crimes – this type of crime is influenced by racial bias, judgement of ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Sexual harassment – these are unwanted sexual advances and any sort of unwanted verbal or physical behavior.
  • Psychological – also known as “emotional” harassment, this includes hostile behavior, passive-aggressive behavior, or threats. 

Keep in mind, harassment doesn’t always fit into a single category. If you’re being harassed by an ex partner, you might be a victim of several different types of harassment. 

Steps to protect yourself from harassment

If you are being harassed by an ex partner, there are a number of steps to take. Remember, it’s better to act quickly to stop the harassment as soon as possible. 

  1. Communication: The first step is to clearly communicate with the individual responsible about how you feel, and request the harassment stop. Explain to them what behavior is inappropriate and make sure you’re both on the same page. 
  1. Save documentation: It’s vital to keep a copy of any communication that takes place between you and an ex. Take a screenshot of any texts you receive, and save all voice recordings. 
  1. Increase online privacy: Take extra action to secure your online privacy. Remove personal information from social media profiles and make posts only visible to friends. Share fewer details and refrain from sharing anything that might give away your location. Make sure you update your passwords. 
  1. Contact the police: If the harassment continues, get authorities involved. Get all documentation in order for a potential casefile. With evidence, you might be able to file a restraining order. Approach an attorney if you don’t want to speak to the police first. 
  1. Legal Action: You may be able to hire a prosecutor to file a lawsuit against your ex if the harassment persists. This also means you might be eligible for compensation. 

If either you or a loved one is being harassed by an ex, remember this is not your fault. The law is on your side and support is available for victims in many states. 

Victims of harassment can also contact the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). If you are a woman being harassed by an ex, seek legal advice at Women’s Law

Important note: if you’re at serious risk, or the situation has escalated out of your immediate control, call 911. Emergency services will stay on the phone with you until responders arrive. 

Taking legal action against an ex for harassment

Although it may be possible to press charges against your ex for harassment, it’s important to think the process through first. There are several different variables at play:

  • Pressing charges has different ramifications depending on the state you live in.
  • If you file against a former partner, you may not be able to change your mind later.
  • If your ex doesn’t agree to a Pre-Trial Diversion Agreement (PDA) or a Compromise of Misdemeanor, you may have to settle the case in court. 
  • If you secure an attorney, you will be expected to outline explicit evidence of any damage inflicted on you because of the harassment. 

If you still wish to proceed filing a civil lawsuit against your ex partner, you will need to hire an attorney to help you through the process. They will be able to provide consultation and explain exactly what to expect throughout. 

In the U.S. harassment charges are handled by different parts of the judicial system. If the charge is a Gross Misdemeanor, it will be handled by Municipal or District Courts. If it’s charged as a Felony, it will be heard in Superior Court. 

Both Misdemeanors and Felonies can result in fines, counseling, and jail time for the guilty.

How DeleteMe can help further protect you

However you decide to handle harassment from an ex, DeleteMe can help you gain control of your data privacy and online security. This is a vital step if you are a victim of harassment. 

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of data brokers out there that collect your personal information online to sell to marketers without your knowledge. The practice is completely legal, but means your personal information could also be at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

DeleteMe helps you establish your privacy and security by ensuring the prompt removal of all of your information from data-broker sites and Whitepages. This information might include, among other things, your name and address, even images of your home. 

Not only does DeleteMe remove this information, we also monitor these databases every few months to make sure that your details are never relisted. 

By opting out of data-broker sites with our service at DeleteMe, you can reduce the chances of an ex partner finding and exploiting your personal information online.

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