January 2011 marks the eighth annual observance of National Stalking Awareness Month, a month dedicated to educating the public about the serious and at times deadly crime of stalking.
People sometimes forget that both women and men can be the victim of a stalker.
Stalking generally refers to harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property. (Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice, 1998) While the federal government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories have all enacted criminal laws to address stalking, the legal definition for stalking varies across jurisdictions. For example, state laws vary regarding the element of victim fear and emotional distress, as well as the requisite intent of the stalker. Additionally, states vary regarding what level of fear is required for an offense to be considered stalking. (Stalking Victimization in the United States, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009)
Stalking between intimate partners is widespread and often associated with lethal abuse. Despite the enactment of anti-stalking laws in every state, relatively few stalkers are cited or arrested by law enforcement, even fewer are prosecuted. (A Statewide Study of Stalking and Its Criminal Justice Response, National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, 2009)
Being the victim of a stalker is no laughing matter. What may seem "cute" can turn to "creepy" and violent/threatening very quickly. Unless you understand and recognize the signs, it could be too late to do something about it.
Take it seriously and notify local law enforcement and security. The reason you want to let your company security know is that although you may feel embarrassed, stalking can flow into the workplace (as can domestic violence) and unless the building/company security knows about the issue, they can not do anything about it.