So today we are going to talk about the act of stalking, not talked about very often but is beginning to be a very well known subject in the U.S. And the CDC and other groups have taken the steps to investigate and find out the amounts of deaths and injuries among teens.
These acts go hand in hand with sexual abuse or sexual assault, dating violence and teen dating violence.
It is important for you to understand that sometimes stalking plays such a large role in most of these assaults. Many people do not know that there are Federal and State laws that can protect a person in these unfortunate situations.
The "SAFE HORIZON website" states, that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, stalking is defined as "a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear." Stalking behavior can include
- Harassing a victim through the Internet, including email, social networking sites, and other sites
- Damaging or threatening to damage a victim's property
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim or the victim's children and family, friends, pets, and even co-workers
- Following or laying in wait for a victim at places victims tend to frequently visit, including home, school, or work
- Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications, by phone, mail, and/or email
Stalking may also involve or be defined as:
- Harassing or threatening tactics used by a perpetrator that is both unwanted and causes fear in the victim.
- Behavior ranges from overtly aggressive threats and actions, to repeated phone calls, letters, emails, texts or violent approaches.
- There are anti-stalking laws in place, both federal and state, designed to protect victims of stalkers
There are other acts that also can be related to stalking, for example:
- Controlling behavior
- Not letting you hang out with your friends
- Calling, texting or emailing you frequently to find out where you are, who you're with, and what you're doing
- Telling you what to wear
- Having to be with you all the time
Jealousy over friendships and escalation of anger and violence
In February of this year 2012 a young woman age 20 who was a well known lacrosse player was in her college in Harrisonburg, VA was injured and died at the hand of a young man who was stalking her and then decided to injure and kill her.
Over 90% of female homicide victims are killed by someone they know, and 76% of these victims were stalked before their deaths.
From 2009 to 2012, 40% of mass shootings started with the shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife or ex-wife. There are about 3.4 million women and men who are stalking victims per year.
More than 50% are 30 years of age and younger.
Women are more likely to stalked than raped.
Believe it or not about 10% of victims are stalked by a stranger.
Many victims who are stalked have these personal items damaged, their lives threatened and their families or animals harmed as well.
The statistics in the US Department of Justice by Katrina Baum, Ph.D., Shannan Catalano, Ph.D., and Michael Rand and Kristina Rose state that during a 12-month period an estimated 14 in every 1,000 persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking. About half (46%) of stalking victims experienced at least one unwanted contact per week, and 11% of victims said they had been stalked for 5 years or more. Nearly 3 in 4 stalking victims knew their offender in some capacity.
The federal government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories have enacted laws making stalking a criminal act, although the elements defining the act of stalking differ across states. The USDOJ.gov states that:
While the federal government, all 50 states, the District
of Columbia, and U.S. Territories have enacted
criminal laws to address stalking, the legal definition
for stalking varies across jurisdictions. State laws vary
regarding the element of victim fear and emotional
distress, as well as the requisite intent of the stalker.
Some state laws specify that the victim must have
been frightened by the stalking, while others require
only that the stalking behavior would have caused a
reasonable person to experience fear. In addition
states vary regarding what level of fear is required.
Some state laws require prosecutors to establish fear
of death or serious bodily harm, while others require
only that prosecutors establish that the victim suffered
emotional distress. Interstate stalking is defined by
federal law 18 U.S.C. § 2261A.
If you feel like someone is threatening you or you feel in danger or have a feeling someone else is in danger please contact 911 immediately. You can also contact:
Crime Victims Hotline 866.689.HELP (4357)
For more information on the Bureau of Justice Statistics please visit: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/docs/stalking-victimization.pdf
Remember according to God's word the Lord disapproves of anyone spying, stalking or meddling in anyone's affairs. Someone once said there is a huge difference between spying out the land and spying on someone's freedoms.
- But because of the false brothers brought in quietly, who sneaked in to spy upon our freedom which we have in union with Christ Jesus, that they might completely enslave us— to these we did not yield by way of submission, no, not for an hour, in order that the truth of the good news might continue with you. (Galatians 2:4,5)
- There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.(Proverbs 6: 16-19)