Stalkers & Stalking

It was once thought that it was only the famous who were the victims of stalking however the fact that all U.S. states now have law regarding stalking attests to the fact that this is a crime that all persons are potentially at risk from. Like rapists, stalkers differ in their motivations however they all share a common trait and motive: they have an obsession with a particular individual and want to have a "relationship" with them; the terms of this relationship being dictated by them i.e. the relationship is not/will not be conducted on equal terms. Often there is no real "goal" to the relationship e.g. an ex-partner may continue to stalk a person even when they are fully aware that there is no hope of the once intimate relationship they enjoyed re-developing (something the stalker may no longer desire anyway). This is one of the problems with many cases of stalking: there isn't anything (an end goal or resolution) that will actually satisfy the stalker.

Stalking can actually be difficult to define - which is one of the reasons it is difficult to prosecute legally. Most of the common acts of stalking, such as making phone-calls, sending emails, turning up at places you frequent etc are not criminal acts in and of themselves. It is the repeated nature of them combined with the way you judge them i.e. do they make you uncomfortable, intimidate you? That defines them as being part of a stalking campaign. This is one reason why you need to catalogue/document each incident should you ever become the victim of a stalker.

Each time a stalker makes a phone call and then hangs up, you are thinking about them. Eventually every time the phone rings you think about them i.e. you come to associate the phone ringing with them. This may seem a relationship that nobody gets anything out of but the stalker does; they know you are starting to think about them whenever the phone rings, a letter comes (if they have previously sent mail) you open your email (if they have been emailing you daily) etc. Eventually your thoughts are all about them from the moment you wake up e.g. will they be standing outside your place of work again today? To the moment you go to sleep - will the phone ring at two in the morning and will it be them etc.

The important thing to understand about stalking is that the stalker has to: a) enjoy a relationship and b) dictate the terms of it. If their target doesn't provide any "feedback" or "response" to their actions and behavior there is no relationship. This can often be difficult for us to do, as we want to: a) justify/explain our reasons and behaviors, b) have the last word i.e. end things on our terms and c) as the "injured" party receive some form of apology or at the least receive some acknowledgement of the distress that has been caused (receive closure). Unfortunately all of this requires communication with the person we are trying to stop communicating with us.

This can become doubly difficult if the person who is stalking us is someone whom we had a prior relationship with either: as an intimate partner, a casual sexual acquaintance or friend etc. There are signals and signs that such people give off indicating whether they may become a stalker etc and these are covered in our women's self defense program. In such situations we may feel the need to explain why we don't want to engage in a relationship with them i.e. we feel we owe them an explanation and if they receive this they will stop - this would be true if they were a reasonable person but by this stage reason has left the building.

Most women have (or will have) had a partner who couldn't accept that the relationship had ended or received the unwanted interest of someone who wouldn't accept "no". Often these situations resolved themselves, sometimes they were never recognized/categorized as stalking etc however knowing how to handle such individuals in a stress free way would have meant a better quality of life and improved an individual's personal safety.

Personal safety, Self Protection and self-defense is not just about dealing with the "obvious" situations and the ones that are clear cut where the aggressor is easily (and stereotypically) identifiable but also in those "grey area" situations where relationships (one of the five situational components) can color the issue. Our women's self defense program doesn't just stick to providing information and education on how to deal with the simple and easy but also the difficult and complex.

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Charlestown, MA

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Krav Maga Yashir Boston
Charlestown Maritime Ctr (3 FL)
MA 02129

Tel: (339) 224-8005

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