Any action that causes a person to fear for their safety is stalking. The legal definition for stalking varies in every state, but since September of 1993, stalking has been illegal in each one of them. Every stalking case is distinct, but each stalker uses similar behaviour to try to control their victim. Oftentimes, a victim will disregard the warning signs of a stalker because the person is someone that they know or it's somebody they were seeing romantically. Ignoring the problem will not make the stalker go away.
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There are numerous vehicles of communication that a stalker can use to harass their victims. For example, persistent telephone calls, countless text messages or incessant e-mails are all warning signs that you are dealing with a stalker. Two-thirds of stalkers will pursue their victims at least once a week, yet often the unwanted communication happens daily, according to Survivors Inc. Unwanted gifts, phone calls and inappropriate letters or e-mails should not be flattering to you---they should be feared.
Monitoring Your Home or Your Workplace
Casually running into a person every now and then is not stalking. However, if you are persistently running into a specific person or are being monitored at your home or your workplace by this person, you are being stalked. If you believe you are a victim of stalking, you are not alone. Over three million people have been recognised as victims of a stalker, according to a national study released in early 2009 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Threats or Violence
In some cases, a stalker will use threats and violence to control their victim, but this behaviour is more commonly displayed by a "rejected stalker." In the SexualHarrassmentSupport.org article "Types of Stalkers and Stalking Patterns," P. E. Mullen, an internationally renowned forensic psychiatrist, says that when a stalker uses threats and violence, he is typically obsessed with a person, who was a former friend or lover, and the stalking is the consequence of the break-up. Because the stalker cannot reconcile the relationship or cope with the humiliation of being rejected, the stalker is prone to harm his victim. If the stalker is violent, they were probably violent during the relationship as well.
Defamation or Manipulative Behavior
Stalkers may also threaten to harm themselves (i.e., suicide) to prompt a response of concern from their victims. A perpetrator may even try to defame the victim's character by lying to family, co-workers and friends.
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