What is Stalking?
Stalking is defined as: “a constellation of behaviours in which an individual inflicts upon another repeated unwanted intrusions and communications.” (Mullen, 1999)
Lamber Royakkers describes stalking as: "A form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom they have no relationship (or no longer have). Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect)."
Most victims would identify with the description mental assault or even mental rape. That someone is forcing you into a relationship against your will.
Stalking may escalate to physical assault, sexual assault, or even murder. If two or more occasions of unwanted attention are directed repeatedly toward a specific individual, is experienced as unwelcome or intrusive and triggers fear or concern, then it is stalking.
Research by Lorraine Sheridan shows that 77% of stalking victims have over a 100 incidents before they report it to the police. That is because it takes the victims a while to realise that are being stalked. Often stalking starts off as someone being annoying, then they become creepy and finally they are frightening. However, some stalking episodes can escalate very quickly.
In general, stalkers communicate with the people they are stalking. However, they also target friends and family. They do this to find out information about the victim, to disrupt relationships, embarrass or humiliate the victim, cause doubt on the victims claims of abuse, or to wreak revenge for helping the victim.
Below are some of the most common stalking behaviours.
This list is non exhaustive.
- Following, surveillance, spying
- Standing, loitering: victim's home, school, place of work etc.
- Verbal abuse or public humiliation
- Unsolicited: mail, postcards, photographs, gifts from the endearing to the bizarre
- Repeatedly texting, emailing, leaving voicemails
- Planting spyware, viruses into victim's computer
- Hacking into victim's computer, email, social media accounts
- Spreading rumours, discrediting
- Threats or violence against the victim, family, friends or pets
- Damage to property, stealing victim's belongings
- Physical violence, sexual assault, rape, murder
- Attempting to take children away, limit access by making false allegations, or engaging in Parental Alienation.
- “Befriending” victim's friends, family to get closer to the victim
- Stealing or interfering with post
- Going through rubbish bins. Leaving offensive material in the garden
- Breaking into victim's car, home or office
- Interfering with or damaging personal belongings
- Threatening victim's freedom by making false allegations to the police
- Blackmail. Threatening to divulge information that would be harmful to the victim
- Invading your personal space by standing too close or brushing against the victim
- Ordering unwanted goods to be delivered to the victim's house
- Seeking physical proximity by applying for jobs where the victim works; joining victim's gym; church; professional, social, sports groups or clubs; moving into victim's neighbourhood or building
- Leaving or sending threatening objects
- Ordering goods in victim's name and address
- Identity theft. Pretending to be the victim
- Running up debt in the victim's name
- Trying to incriminating the victim by claiming that is the victim that is the perpetrator
- Putting tracking devices on a car
- Creating fake online profiles