Stalking can happen to anyone.
1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey)
What is stalking?
A person commits the crime of stalking in New Hampshire when one “Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family, and that person is placed in fear.” Violations of protection orders, divorce decrees or bail conditions that prohibit contact between a victim and abuser can also be a criminal stalking offense.
Reasons Stalkers Stalk
• Power and Control
• Obsession – The daily life of the victim becomes the daily life of the stalker. The stalker begins to focus less on his or her personal routine and focus more on the victim’s whereabouts. This type of stalker may have exhibited obsession behaviors in other parts of their lives.
• Sexual Gratification (voyeurism)
• Planning to commit a crime
• Fantasy – The line between fantasy and reality is severely blurred. The fantasy becomes so real that the stalker truly thinks that they have a relationship with the victim.
Reactions to Being Stalked
A typical pattern of emotions stalking victims experience are listed below:
• Victims may deny the problem at first
• They may try to bargain with the stalker
• Anxiety sets in and victims may become preoccupied by the fear of not knowing when the stalker may turn up next
• Exhaustion follows and victims may feel depressed
• Victims begin to blame themselves
• Eventually, victims may get very angry and may be ready to take action to get the stalker out of their life
• Finally, acceptance of the situation sets in and it is then that victims can begin to deal with the situation objectively
Stalking and Technology
Technology such as cell phones, the internet, email and GPS devices can all be used by abusers to stalk and control victims. There are many ways you can increase your safety.
Stalking is never caused by something you may have said or done. If you are being stalked, it is not your fault.
Are you at risk?
The following list are common signs of stalking.
- Threatening safety. Following, approaching, or confronting the targeted person.
- Appearing with no legitimate purpose at or around a place where a person can be found, including a residence, workplace, or school.
- Causing damage to property
- Placing an object on the person’s property, either directly or through a third person
- Causing an injury to a family pet
- Acts of communication that are harassing to the individual e.g. letters, packages, electronic transmissions, etc.
According to RSA 633:3-A it is against the law in NH for someone to:
- Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engage in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family, and that person is placed in fear;
- Purposely or knowingly engage in a course of conduct that the actor knows will place an individual and/or that person’s immediate family member in fear for personal safety;
- Commit a single act of conduct that both violates the provisions of a protection order, divorce decree, or bail conditions, that prohibits contact with the individual and is an act of conduct, as defined below. The person must have been served or given notice of the protective order filed against him/her.
- Course of conduct refers to 2 or more acts that occur over a period of time, however short, that show evidence of a pattern of behavior. This includes any of the following acts against a person or her/his immediate family member.
What are my options?
If you suspect you are being stalked, threatened, harassed or intimidated by someone, you may want to consider the following:
- If you feel unsafe or if you are in immediate danger call 9-1-1
- Document everything related to the stalking including dates, time and what the stalker was doing, saying, wearing, driving, etc.
- Record names and contact information for anyone that may have also witnessed the stalking.
- Contact your law enforcement to report what is happening to you and any evidence that you may have that is related. Document for your records any communication with law enforcement, including officer names and case numbers.
- Please call our 24-hour confidential support: 1-603-994-SAFE (7233) for emotional support.