Stalking and using technology to do it
If a narcissist refuses to accept a breakup, chances are they won’t admit that their acts of following you, calling, emailing and texting you non-stop, classify them as stalkers.
In order to write fiction, it takes research. Research yields realities that inspire life-like characters going through situations that make up life—breakups are often a part of life. But when one person won’t let go and move forward and leave the other alone, it becomes a real threat to a person’s safety and security. Being stalked by a former partner can turn violent when that refusal leads to a variety of bad conduct. One of my most popular boards on Pinterest is the one I have about narcissists. It isn’t unusual for people to contact me and relay the experiences they’ve had with this type of personality. It’s shocking how persistent the narcissist can be when it comes to pursuing someone after a relationship ends. A narcissist just won’t let go.
Even though Stalking Awareness Month was last month, after getting several emails from readers, I decided to use my blog to highlight the fact that stalking is a crime.
Yes, it is. Stalking is not okay. It isn’t funny, romantic, or cute. And it’s breaking the law. Anyone who physically follows another, or uses the Internet, social media, or any number of digital devices for the sole purpose of intimidation, is committing a felony, punishable by one to five years in jail. Penalties vary from state to state but as of July 2014, all 50 states have beefed up their stalking laws. That’s because an estimated 7.5 million people are stalked each year in the U.S., with more than 85% of victims being stalked by someone they know, that includes family members, exes, girlfriends, boyfriends, neighbors, or business associates. And those are the ones reported.
Depending on state statutes, there are three categories—stalking, aggravated stalking and cyberstalking—all serious violations. Stalking is a unique crime, because stalkers are obsessed with controlling their victims’ actions and feelings. Whether it’s laying on guilt over a breakup, interrupting their normal course of life, their daily routine at work, calling 15 times until you pick up the phone or making sure the feeling of privacy is taken away from you, if a person won’t leave you alone at home or at work, state statutes consider it stalking.
Let’s talk about parameters. Many people don’t understand that a person commits a stalking violation each time (2 separate occasions count) he or she knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and he or she knows that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to:
- fear for his or her life
- suffer emotional distress
Just because a person is upset over the end of a relationship does not give that person the right to knowingly harass you. It doesn’t give them the right to follow another person or place the person under surveillance or any combination thereof. If they do, it constitutes stalking.
If a person uses any type of digital device to text, email, or make use of the phone to repeatedly call until you pick up, threaten, bully or harass you, causing you emotional or psychological distress, it constitutes stalking.
If a person tracks you using a global positioning system (GPS), monitors your computer or cell phone use, that type of action falls into stalking.
Transmitting a threat means a verbal or written threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal or written statements or conduct, and it constitutes stalking.
An ex or soon to be ex does not have the right to harass or stalk you any more than a total stranger does. Stalking is abuse.
Despite the perceptions that some people don’t take stalking seriously, think again. Recent actions by federal and state law enforcements have shown they’ve actually cracked down on this type of crime.
Whether it’s an ex or soon to be ex. or a stranger online, be aware there’s a psychology involved in people who stalk. And it isn’t pretty. Know the danger behind people who take this type of action. Remember it doesn’t matter if it’s someone you know or a stranger, it’s still a crime and you should contact the police and get them involved. If you’re going through a divorce or breakup it is wise to let your attorney know about the constant barrage of phone calls, text messages, or emails.
If someone is harassing you either physically or online, take action. Contact your local authorities and let them handle the problem. Stalking should never be ignored. Law enforcement certainly sees it as a serious issue.
Facts and figures provided by the people at Stalking Resource Center