Repeated harassing and threatening behavior is the essence of stalking. A person can be stalked in physical form as well as via internet. No matter what type of stalking occurs it can be scary and in many cases life threatening. When a person is being stalked it is typically difficult to know the true intention of the stalker and when being stalked it is always important to treat the threat as real and potentially life threatening.
In 2009 the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that within a 12 month period over 3 million American adults were victims of being stalked. Of that number 75% knew the stalker, 11% had been stalked for over five years, and 25% were being stalked via the internet. Although it is more difficult to obtain legal protection from internet stalking there have been many cases of cyber-stalking leading to physical threats and harm upon the victims. When a person becomes the victim of a stalker their entire life changes. Often the victim is forced to move several times in order to “hide” from the stalker. Inevitably a determined stalker finds the individual and continues the threats and harassment. It is not uncommon to change phone numbers, change jobs, change social networks, and move across states to get away from the stalker. Due to the unknown intent of threat, being stalked can be emotionally draining, mentally confusing, and put the victim in a position of feeling helpless, alone, isolated, anxious, and depressed. It is not uncommon for the victim of a long-time stalker to require therapeutic support due to fear and depression over an unknown end result of the stalking. Many stalkers intend to instill a persistent fear in the victim through the various stalking behaviors.
Why do stalkers stalk? Good question! Theories answering this focus on brain damage to the frontal area much like that of a person with obsessive compulsive disorder. The stalker cannot identify with the victims point of view no matter the reasoning and logic involved and truly the stalker has no capacity for empathy toward the victim. What the stalker is good at is believing the delusions that the victim deserves the stalking behavior and once the victim has been made completely powerless to the stalker the victim will then submit to the behavior that the stalker is aiming for. However in many cases this ends in death of the victim.
For more information on legal definitions of stalking, resources, and further reading please follow the links http://www.stalkingbehavior.com/Victim%20Resources.htm ; http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs14-stk.htm ; http://www.ncvc.org/SRC/main.aspx?dbID=DB_Missouri252