Stalking: Definition and Stages

Stalking can generally be defined as the repeated actions of an individual towards another; that brings or results in the feelings of being threatened in the person being stalked. This causes them to stay in fear of the harassment or retaliation for the rejection by the victim.

The excessive flattering stage is a phase within the stalking problem in which the two individuals have had contact and encounters. At this point, the relationship between the two can be intimate or delusional; where the person to become the stalker engages in acts or behaviors that show a high extent of interest in the other party involved. The stalker at this point flatters the victim; telling them how good or how intimate they feel being close to them or associating with them. A hypothetical example in this case is the relationship and encounters that are involved or engaged in; between a man and a woman who met recently at a social place; after which the man became interested in the lady then is trying to get the woman to be or show attraction in them too.

At the annoying stage; the persistent ex-relation or suitor keeps constantly trying to arrange and plan for contact, conversation or interactions with the lady being stalked. According to the lady, at this point there is no attraction towards the man as they feel that there is no longer any point in keeping the contact and encounters they had before. At this stage the encounters may be considered as attempts to patch up a crumbling entanglement; date or relationship, and the victim very less likely realizes that the situation will change to a serious problem. An example in continuation to the example; the lady is no more interested in the flattery as they feel there is no point in continuing the relation. Due to this they feel that the man is forcing themselves on them through the numerous calls, visits and other contacts.

The controlling stage is the phase at which the victim realizes that it has turned into a stalking case, and they make all attempts to control the behavior of the stalker towards them. At this point the stalker responds to the controlling attempts by blackmailing, slandering, libeling and making mild threats to the victim. At this point the man will make statements like ‘you will be sorry’, then the victim attempts to handle the situation by telling a few people or groups about the case.

The isolation stage is a phase in which the stalker knows clearly that the victim is not interested in them; thus they attempt to distance themselves but instead fake increased confidence, feel superior and attempt to refrain from contacts or encounters. Within the example; at this stage the individual keeps technically away from the victim or devices covered means of stalking.

At the breakup stage; the stalker instead of showing interest in the victim, they show signs of aggression to other inanimate or animate things. Within the example given; the stalker will divert their efforts to showing aggression towards inanimate belongings, himself and his pets.

The legal definition of stalking varies from one state to another but in general stalking can be explained as, any series of actions or unwanted contact that put the victim directly or indirectly in fear; for their safety through being harassed, telephoned; watched over suspiciously, receiving mails or acting in some way frightening to them.

The ‘New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice Title 2C:12, Section 10’, gives the temporary measures to be employed in placing restraining orders for cases of alleged stalking based on the different conditions that may surround the case. According to this code of justice; any case engaging the accusation of stalking where the victim is a minor under the age of eighteen years or is intellectually impaired; victim is up to 18 years of age but mentally impaired; the court may decide to grant a provisional restraining order not in favor of the defendant, limiting the contact and encounters of the victim and the one alleged to victimize them.

In the second part of this code of justice; the judgment offered against a defendant for stalking, shall act as an application for an unending restraint order, limiting any encounter between the victim and the defendant. This is to mean that the defendant is limited to making any attempts to engage the victim in any interaction, contact or engagement; as this is seen as able to revive the feelings of being threatened and fear.

In the third part of the code; the caretaker who could be a guardian or parent of the person described in the first part of this code or a child; is capable of lodging a complaint with a higher court, regarding the rulings of a lower court seeking a provisional restraint order against the stalker. The guardian is also capable of seeking an ‘emergency ex parte relief’, a decision which will be arrived at by the judge; as to whether the victim in question as described in the first part is at the risk of being stalked by the stalker. The judge offers a provisional restrictive order; with reference to the sixth part of this code.

The fourth part of this code further accounts that; the establishment of stalking shall not be held a qualification for the decision on which the temporary restriction order is offered under this act.

In the fifth part of this code; a provisional restrictive order offered under this act is meant to restrict the getting in touch between the stalker and the victim; who could be a minor of an over 18 years person who is intellectually impaired. This part also declares that the court may also offer all other relief specified in earlier sections.

The fifth part of this code provides that; a hearing in the higher court shall be held within ten days, in the case that an emergency ‘ex parte’ restraint had been offered. In this case, a copy of the grievance is presented against the defendant; with regard to the procedures and policies of the higher court. After the hearing; the decision as to whether the provisional restraint is based on the evidence presented before the court.

The sixth part of this code provides that; if the court decides that the provisional restrictive order is to be maintained; then the ruling shall remain in effect until the defendant is found guilty of stalking, therefore placed under a permanent restricting order. Another instance is that the ruling takes effect until the guardians or parents of the victim who attains majority age; request that the order be dropped on reasons justifiable before the court.

The different types of staking are those that involve the attempts of stalking by the various types of stalkers. Rejected suitor stalking is that which is carried out by a lover or spouse; who wavers between taking the steps of reconciliation or revenge on their partner. The reason they meddle between the two options is that; they feel some sense of entitlement to the relationship and are commonly associated with personality disorders.

Intimacy seeker stalking is the case when the stalker is determined to enter into a relationship with the victim; despite their refusal and opposed wishes. Some of the stalkers under this group hold the delusion that their love has been reciprocated.

Incompetent suitor stalking is the one that involves an individual who is rejected after seeking for a date from the other party. They do this in the hope that the persistence will change the rejection they faced.

Resentful stalking is one that engages the expression of anger in retribution to the feelings that they have been disgraced or unfairly treated by the object of their passion. They perpetuate this by creating some sense of authority and control over the victim and often feel like they are the ones victimized.

Predatory stalking engages attacking victims at random. The stalker feels pleasure in collecting information about their victim then fantasizing the abuse. These often take the track of sexual deviance.

The most common of these different types of stalking is the Intimacy seeker stalking; because women have been known to reject relationship proposals so as to learn how serious the suitors are; when deciding between different suitors, or when playing hard to get just to show that they have a strong standing.

The causes for stalking include that the suitor, who is not capable of receiving the love of the victim; settles at their hatred and anger so as to be able to overcome the passion. The victims often make responses or interaction with the stalker that makes them stronger in their possessive attacks. Erotomania which is a psychotic complication that makes the stalker imagines the victim loves them. The desire to pursue, dominate and reclaim ex-lovers or partners. The power and success the stalker feels after intimidating and frightening the victim. Malice where the stalker holds grudges against the victim thus enjoying seeing them distressed. Another cause is when the stalker is obsessed to the victim who does not want them in return.

The strategies proposed by this author are that the victims should learn from their fears and not be paralyzed or obsessed by them. He further argues that this response should be based on the instinctual perception you have about the case. He argues that a victim should respond to their feelings of anxiety regarding the stalker, by not providing information about them like where they live or work. He also proposed that victims should not give out their personal information except to people they trust. He also proposed that victims should consider placing real properties in other trusted names, and that they should not just respond to any mail or messages. He further proposed that victims should be watchful not to be followed by strangers when going home or to other places.

It was handled excellently because according to him; people don’t just ‘snap’ and become violent therefore the decision was arrived at because it was meant to and help avoid any worse encounters or escalation of the problem; as well pursuing to keep the balance between avoiding re-commission of the vice.

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