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Stalking
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More than seven million women and two million men in this country have been stalked, finds a study from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stalking affects seven percent of women (one in 14 women) and two percent of men (one in 50 men) in the U.S. at some time in their lives. The study was published in the August 2006 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

"Stalking in the United States, Recent National Prevalence Estimates" defines stalking as "being followed, spied on, or communicated with, without consent at a level perceived to be somewhat dangerous or life threatening." It finds that individuals who are never married, separated, widowed or divorced report significantly higher rates of stalking than those who are married or living with a partner. Those 55 or older, or retired, are least likely to have been stalked.

Results are based on findings from the Injury Control and Risk telephone survey conducted from 2001 to 2003. Nearly 10,000 women and men aged 18 and older participated.

 

The state of Michigan describes stalking as: "Stalking" means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested."  Stalking can be any intentional incident of threatening, following, surveillance and/or coercive behavior that occurs more than once.

 

Contrary to popular belief, stalking can affect anyone, not just celebrities. Stalking is a crime that causes constant anxiety and terror to the victim. It disrupts victims' lives by causing fear of everyday occurrences: the doorbell, the phone ringing, a piece of mail, etc.

 

Statistics show that approximately 80% of stalking cases involve women stalked by former male partners. In addition, 90% of women murdered by current or former male partners were stalked prior to their deaths. Stalking can take all kinds of forms. Stalking cases can involve interpersonal relationships (i.e. ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, ex-husbands/wives, co-workers, neighbors, etc.); strangers (i.e. fan/celebrity, unknown apartment tenant, unknown admirer at work, etc.); relationships in which the stalker believes he/she is loved by another (i.e. fan/celebrity, or employee/supervisor); or the stalker actually postures him/herself as a victim of stalking.

 
 
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