Friday, November 20, 2009

An Invisible Threat


Part1: Prevalence

Stalking in America is a major problem. Attention towards stalking occurred as a result of celebrities who were being stalked. In the past decade 50 states have passed anti-stalking laws. The study of stalkers has been limited to a small number of clinical samples. There is a lack of empirical data that exists on stalkers and on the issue of stalking. The major questions that are discussed within a major national study on stalking include the prevalence of stalking in the United States, who stalks whom, and how often stalkers overtly threaten their victims. Other questions within the study included how often stalking is reported to the police, as well as what are the psychological consequences of stalking.

What is stalking?
Stalking is considered threatening and harassing behavior which is carried out repeatedly. Common practices include threatening behaviors such as appearing at the individual’s home, their place of work, their business, making harassing phone calls, vandalizing the individual’s property and cyber-stalking, which is bombarding someone with e-mails, instant messages, and other forms of communication. With the advancement of technology, stalkers have newer ways of conducting the stalking.

While stalking differs from states to states, the following is taken from the New York State Penal Code for stalking. If anyone wants more information, please look at the National Center for Victims of Crime ( .

Legal Definitions of Stalking
Stalking differs in each state. The CUNY prevention-based sexual assault policy outlines New York State Law on stalking. In addition Safe Horizon’s website provides more in-depth information on stalking and services for individuals who feel they are being stalked. Legally most states do present stalking within the context of someone who is willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following the individual.

· Stalking is more prevalent within the United States than was thought prior.
8% of women and 2% of men are stalked within their lifetime. Around 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men have been stalked within their lifetime. As suggested by Tjaden and Thoenness stalking needs to be considered a public health as well as a public health concern
· Invisible Groups: Alaska Native women as well as American Indian women were considered to more likely to report being stalked than any other racial groups
· Stalking cuts across gender. However 78% of stalking victims are female and 87% are male
· Adults between the ages of 18-29 are the primary targets and make up over 52% of all victims
· Perpetrators who stalk are known to the victim(Lack of research exists within the field of stalking by intimate partners/relevant for sexual assault and intimate partner violence incidents)
· Strong link exists between forms of violence in intimate relationships.
· Average Stalking Case lasts about 1.8 years. Approximately 1/5 of the victims move away from
31% of victims who were cohabiting with their partner and were stalked were also sexually assaulted. Approximately 1 out of 3
Stalking rates were highest among Spouse/Ex Spouse relationships. Interestingly for stalking carried out by a stranger, more males reported being stalked by females.
· Less than 50% of the stalking victims are actually directly threatened by their stalkers but they do feel an intense level of fear.
· Deplorably less than half actually report their stalking to the police and only in ¼ cases are the suspects actually arrested. Only 12% of stalking cases actually result in any conviction
· From all of the victims who did receive restraining orders, approximately 69 percent of the women and 81 percent of the men said their stalkers violated the order.
· Only 30 percent of female stalking victims and 20 percent of male stalking victims seek psychological counseling as a result of their victimization

College-Aged Women
· In another study the sexual victimization of college women they found that in a survey of the rates of women on college campuses(156.5 per 1,000 female students). On a college campus approximately 13.1 percent of the female students had been stalked. This challenges the National Survey as women within the college age population.
· Within the same study women were stalked by a boyfriend (42.5percent), classmate(24.5 percent), acquaintance(10.3percent), friend(5.6percent)

This blog is followed by two other blogs that look at cyberstalking and how such research can be employed towards the policy.

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

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