Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stalkers: Who are they? Why do they stalk?

There isn't one stereotypical stalker.

Stalkers come in all shapes and sizes, cultural backgrounds and economic classes.

One thing they do have in common: obsession.

Several characteristics and situations factor into someone becoming a stalker. Does that excuse the behavior? Absolutely not.

What has been determined is that most stalkers are male. They often have a history of criminal, psychiatric or substance abuse. Immigration is also a deciding factor in whether or not a person may become a stalker. A person who has immigrated may be experiencing culture shock, acculturation or a sense of loss. Relationship problems, defense mechanisms (i.e. blaming), loss of a loved one and sexual disfunction are also common triggers. Stalkers are also very likely to participate in domestic violence.

The definition of stalking as provided by is:

"a persistent pattern of conduct that is not wanted by the person to whom it is directed, and may include, but is not limited to, any of the following behaviors:
  • Telephoning

  • Surveillance

  • Following/Pursuit (e.g., by car, on foot)

  • Culturally inappropriate courtship behaviors (e.g., bluntly asking for sex)

  • Trespassing

  • Sending unwanted letters

  • Cyberstalking (e.g., unwanted and harassing e-mail, or instant messaging)

  • Sending unwanted gifts/items (e.g., romantic, bizarre, sinister, or perverted)

  • Attempts to “save” or “rescue” (e.g., from an "immoral life" or an unpleasant situation)

  • Spreading false rumors about the alleged victim of stalking

  • Threats to harm the alleged victim, others, or oneself

  • Property damage

    Stalking behavior can best be conceptualized as existing on a continuum, from low intensity to high intensity. In other words, at one end of the range the behaviors are mild, less intrusive and non-persistent behaviors perceived by others as inappropriate, problematic, and harassing. At the extreme end of the continuum are severe, persistent, or aggressive forms of pursuant behaviors.

If you are being stalked, contact your local authorities immediately. If you are a stalker, it is a crime. You can be charged with a misdemeanor and must pay a $1000 fine. It is considered a felony if you violate a PPO, a condition of bail or probation or if it's a second offense or there is a credible threat. For more information, visit , or .