Imagine being pursued - hunted by someone who knows your every move. No matter what you do, you can’t shake them. You look in the rearview mirror and there they are. Panic sets in. You have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Welcome to the life of a stalking victim.
Stalking is not a new phenomenon. But widespread recognition of stalking as a social and criminal justice concern is relatively recent. California enacted anti-stalking legislation in 1990, and in 1994 Congress passed the national Violence Against Women Act.
Nationwide, one in 12 women will be victims of stalking at some point in their lives. Men make up a smaller, but equally victimized group.
Stalking cases are unique because they can involve ongoing behavior that can last for years. Often, several police agencies are involved in coordinating the investigation. Victims are among the most emotionally traumatized because of the ongoing and threatening nature of the crime.
Profiles of Stalkers:
THE STALKERS:9.5% Erotomania: Stalker falsely believes that the target, usually someone famous or rich, is in love with the stalker.
43% Love obsession: Stalker is a stranger to the target but is obsessed and mounts a campaign of harassment to make the target aware of the stalker's existence.
47% Simple obsession: Stalker usually male, knows target as an ex-spouse, ex-lover, or former boss, and begins a campaign of harassment.
38% Ordinary Citizens32% Lesser known entertainment figures.17% Highly recognizable celebrities.13% Former employer; other professionals.
Direct Threats-Straightforward and explicit statements of an intention to commit harm that do no state conditions that might avert harm.
Veiled Threats-Indirect, vague, or subtle statements suggesting potential harm that do not state conditions that might avert harm.
Conditional Threats-Statements portending harm and specifying either conditions to be met in order to avert the harm or conditions under which the threat will be carried out.
Other resources and valuable links about stalking:
National Center for Victims of Crime
Summary of the Violence Against Women Act