Stalking is a crime. And it is serious. While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking behaviors can include
- Following you wherever you go
- Showing up or driving by your home or work
- Damaging your property
- Threatening to hurt you, your children, or your pets
- Sending unwanted messages or gifts, or contacting you repeatedly through phone calls, letters or emails
- Threatening to find you, wherever you may go
- Monitoring your technology use, hacking into your accounts, or otherwise tracking your movements through technology
Many of these same behaviors could be listed under a definition of domestic violence. Although not always associated with abuse, stalking is often a tactic used by batterers. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center, 30 percent of stalking victims in the United States are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. Intimate partner stalkers are more likely than non-intimate partner stalkers to escalate behaviors quickly; 76% of women murdered by intimate partners were stalked prior to being killed.
If you or someone you know is being stalked, it is important to take it seriously. If you are in immediate danger, contact 911. Read up on safety planning in a stalking situation, and call 1.866.834.HELP to connect with a local domestic violence advocate who can help make a plan.
- MCEDV’s Stalking Page
- National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center
- List of stalking laws in Maine