Stalking and the Judicial System

Law enforcement does not take the crime of stalking as seriously as it should.  Its association took a domestic stance of a failed relationship in which one of the parties was having a problem letting go.  This domestic view persisted even as women and youths experienced death at the hands of their stalkers.  Studies have shown an estimated 23 percent of women and 36 percent of men are stalked by a stranger.  Law enforcement views still have not changed in light of these statistics (Tjaden and Thoennes, 1998).

Relative Merits
Stalking is a crime of harassment.  It is the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person (Perez, 1993).  The fears faced by those stalked went unalleviated by police and they found no justice in the judicial system.  The factor involved of knowing the stalker, and thereby viewed as being partly responsible for the stalkers actions, led to the ineffective response of law enforcement.  The direct association of violence to stalking is not enough of a factor in itself to change the views on establishing stalking as a severe criminal activity with justifiable legal repercussions (Rosenfeld, 2004).

Part of the blame may be due to the difficulty in proving that stalking behavior is occurring, or that it has reached the level of obsession.  Psychologists have expressed results of studies looking at demographics to try to distinguish motivational factors of stalkers.  Looking at race, gender, sex, and age the percentiles strongly pointed to the fact that mainly women are the victims, even though some men also stalk men.  The reasons for stalking are still not clear.  The conduction of many studies on what motivates stalkers to stalk has come up empty for the most part, however those who resort to stalking, can be suffering from a mental disorder, or have a substance abuse issue (Perez, 1993).  This behavior proven by those who stalk celebrities, and led to the anti-stalking laws enacted by state and yet to be incorporated on a federal guideline (Perez, 1993).

There have been many case studies, and reports of this crime, without much follow up by the judicial system.  The block in the understanding may stem from the perspective of psychological dysfunctions in which law enforcement has a vague interest in pursuing.  The continued stalking of everyday people consumed with fear, or raped, and even killed does not seem to attract the attention that it deserves when it comes to stalking.  Even with the new anti-stalking laws there does not appear to be much help forthcoming for those who are at the mercy of a stalker (Rosenfeld, 2004).

Statistics show that the murders of women typically are performed by an estranged or current intimate relationship these results are not to downplay the role of violence in itself that occurs against women.  Women are being cruelly victimized, and living their lives in feat.  This state of living can continue on a norm, of 2 years or last an entire lifetime (Rosenfeld, 2004).  The mental effects can start women on a downhill spiral that has led to suicidal tendencies.  Men are viewed far less than women on being victims of a stalker, but it is thought that this is because men do not report the issue as much as women do (Perez, 1993).

The shocking revelation is that currently not much has changed in this area regarding how law enforcement protects its own.  Communities were in the dark as to the frequency and severity of stalk victims, and the violence that ensues.  Media coverage has played a major role in increased community awareness.  With many women dying at the hands of stalkers, who turned out to be past husbands, boyfriends, or by strangers, it did not matter if the victims knew the perpetrators or not.  The importance of all of this to the community is that they wanted to know what law enforcement was doing about it (Rosenfeld, 2004).

The answer is, not much has changed, as stalking behavior is as strong as it has always been with no signs of slowing down.  Instead of viewing the motivation or behavior of stalking as a psychological problem, it is a socioeconomic issue.  The parameters in existence are clearly definitive of patterns in behavior that correlate with economic times.  Studies continue in efforts to pinpoint motivations of stalkers, as in realizing the problem exists and to recognize to what extreme, in getting a federal mandated law to counteract this ongoing issue (Perez, 1993).


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