In most states, stalking is generally defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person fear. This definition suggests that stalking is a pattern of behaviors rather than a single incident. Every stalking situation is different, there are many behaviors that stalkers can use to intimidate their targets and cause them to suffer fear and distress, including but not limited to harassment. In addition to federal stalking statutes, West Virginia has laws to address stalking.
Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. No guarantees exist that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.
About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men in the United States have been victims of stalking during their lifetimes.
In West Virginia, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 15 men have been stalked during their lifetimes.
More than 1/2 of female victims and more than 1/3 of male victims are first stalked before the age of 25.
In West Virginia, 69.7% of female victims had perpetrators who were current or former intimate partners and 29% were acquaintances. Female victims had stalkers who were males 85.1% of the time.
Many victims experienced their first stalking victimization between ages 18 and 24, about 1 in 3 females and more than 1 in 4 males
Stalking victimization is not a crime that occurs only to young adults. Over half of stalked males and nearly half of stalked females first experienced stalking at age 25 or older, and a little more than 1 in 5 of stalked females and nearly 1 in 8 stalked males were under 18 when they were first stalked.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking you may feel alone, afraid and confused.
There is help available to you.
Ask for help by calling:
Victims are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including e-mails and phone messages. The log, as well as any gifts or letters the stalker sends the victim, can be collected and used as evidence. The evidence will help prove what has been going on if the victim decides to report the stalking to the police or apply for a protective order.
Many victims have found simple ways to make the stalking affect them less. They may ask someone else to pick up and sort their mail, get a second phone number given only to trusted people, or have people at work or school screen phone calls or inform the police if the stalker shows up. Relying on trusted friends and family is important for victims of stalking to help keep victims safer and also reduce the isolation and feelings of desperation that stalking victims may experience.