Stalking can be much more serious than we realize, and can result in a person’s life ending. 7.5 million people are stalked in one year in the United States & the majority of victims are stalked by someone they know. In the “Facebook stalking” world we live in, there are a few things we need to keep in mind about the seriousness of the crime. We will give you a few facts, discuss what it is, and the impact it has on victims. We will also offer some tips for you to help someone. If you or someone you know is in fear because of stalking you should call 9-1-1. An advocate at The Shelter is also available to talk 24/7, entirely confidential 800-931-7233.
Before we begin, you can take this short quiz to see how much you know:
- 61% of female victims & 44% of male victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- 25% of female victims & 32% of male victims are stalked by an acquaintance.
- 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
- 1 in 8 employed victims lose time from work
- 1 in 7 victims move
- 11% of victims have been stalked for 5 years or more
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government. Yet many people who are stalked do not report the behavior to the police.
What is stalking?
Legal definitions vary by area, but a common definition is: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Aggravating factors may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation/parole, victim under 16 years, or same victim as prior occasions.
“Approaching the victim or showing up in places when the victim didn’t want them to be there; making unwanted telephone calls; leaving the victim unwanted messages (text or voice); and watching or following the victim from a distance, or spying on the victim with a listening device, camera, or global positioning system were the most commonly reported stalker tactics by both female and male victims of stalking”
Victims live in constant fear. This fear often results in; anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression. These problems are much higher among stalking victims than the general population. They can lose their job, and may have to relocate. They have to replace items that are damaged by their stalker, and technology that has been tampered with.
Eric Blauuw et al. (2002). The Toll of Stalking. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17, no. 1(2002):50-63. Retrieved from: http://victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/blaauw-e-winkel-f-w-arensman-e-sheridan-l-freeve-a-2002.pdf?sfvrsn=0
Katrina Baum et al. (2009). Stalking Victimization in the United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from: http://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information
Matthew J. Breiding et al. (2014). Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization – National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report, Vol. 63, No. 8. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm
Stalking Resource Center. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information