Stalking as domestic terrorism

In 2009, the US Justice Department released the results of the largest survey ever done in the USA on stalking. The report stated that 3.4 million Americans had identified themselves as having been stalked during a one-year period. Some were male; the vast majority of those being stalked were female.

In this study, stalking was defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person on at least two separate occasions that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. The most common forms of stalking were unwanted phone calls (66 per cent), unsolicited emails or letters (31 per cent) or having rumors spread about them (36 per cent).

Nearly 75 per cent of the victims were familiar with their stalker who, in most cases, was an ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend.

A spokesperson for the US National Victim Center recently states un-categorically: ‘All stalkers have personality disorders.’ Narcissists, those with Borderline Personality Disorder, and Psychopaths are the most likely to stalk ex partner.Forensic psychiatrist Dr Park Dietz agrees. “None of the people who engage in stalking behavior are normal individuals.”

Criminologists say that non stranger stalking is triggered by the same emotionally inadequate response to losing control that serial killers exhibit. Robert Keppel, the lead detective in the Ted Bundy case, says that stalkers are typically “people who have abnormally short tempers, who snap at those around them during stress, who are prone to violence as a first resort . . . and who are almost pathological about exerting control over others and over events around them.”

The majority of domestic stalkers express their hostility towards a rejecting wife or girlfriend without murdering them. They stay at whatever is for them a ‘compensatory ‘level of violence. But the threshold between that and domestic homicide is ‘frighteningly narrow and the numbers of people on the edge so great,’ says Keppel.

According to experts, stalkers should be regarded as ‘terrorists’: whether they are stalking an ex-wife by spreading false rumors about her and sabotaging her employment, or breaking into her home.


Why hasn’t the Equal Rights Amendment been passed?

I guess it was rather idealistic of me when I was a high school student to think that the birth of the women’s movement had been the death knell to gender discrimination. In fact, I confess that way into my thirties I always assumed the ERA had been passed. But more than forty years after it was introduced,the Equal Rights Amendment still hasn’t been ratified. Now obviously if the ERA ever passes, it won’t mean the end of misogyny. Legislation doesn’t end hatred. We know that from the continuing prevalence of racism. Nevertheless the passing of civil rights legislation that affirmed the races were equal and must be treated as such did result in sweeping changes. Passing the ERA would be evidence that women and men are also regarded as equal under American law. Refusing to pass it is proof they’re not, that the fight for equality isn’t over. It’s still a battle that needs to be won.

Psychopathy and its Relationship to Serial Murder

I came across this recently.  The FBI Symposium happened in 2005 but its findings are just as relevant today.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation hosted a multi-disciplinary Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, on August 29, 2005 through September 2, 2005. The goal of the Symposium was to bring together a group of respected experts on serial murder from a variety of fields and specialties, to identify the commonalities of knowledge regarding serial murder.

Attendees at the Serial Murder Symposium agreed that there is no generic profile of a serial murderer. Serial killers differ in many ways, including their motivations for killing and their behavior at the crime scene. However, attendees did identify certain traits common to some serial murderers, including sensation seeking, a lack of remorse or guilt, impulsivity, the need for control, and predatory behavior. These traits and behaviors are consistent with the psychopathic personality disorder. Attendees felt it was very important for law enforcement and other professionals in the criminal justice system to understand psychopathy and its relationship to serial murder.

In  my first book The Girls’ Guide to Predators; the Games Some Men Play I recommend something similar: that women who are being stalked, learn all they can about the characteristics of psychopathy.  These guys actually do seem to play by the same rulebook, so it can’t hurt to Know they enemy!   Estimates vary among the experts but the general consensus is that between 50 and 90 percent of men who stalk women are psychopaths. (So that’s somewhere between half of them, and almost all of them!)  If she understands how a stalker thinks and behaves, a target will be better able to anticipate his next move and take precautions, rather than being caught off guard. One excellent resource is the Love Fraud website, which is run by Donna Anderson.

Women’s Equality Day

I just learned that today is Women’s Equality Day. There’s never a lot of fanfare about this. It sort of sneaks up on you. For a lot of women, it’s just plain embarrassing to be reminded how little has happened since 1976— when our ‘special’ day was established. For example, only four months ago the Senate rejected the Equal Pay Bill.

I wish Women’s Equality Day could be more like Martin Luther King Day. There is much reason to celebrate that day. There have been significant strides in civil rights since Martin Luther King first arrived on the political stage, culminating today in a black president of the U.S.A. And when these hard won civil rights are denied or threatened, people take to the streets to protest, as they are doing in Ferguson. But I can’t help noticing, today being Women’s Equality Day and all, that there’s a deafening silence around the fact that 1. 3 million females are raped each year. What about their ‘rights’? Don’t they have any? Why isn’t there a nationwide protest? What is Women’s Equality Day celebrating anyway?

I’m happy that we finally got a black president in the White House. That is indeed progress that can be measured and deserves to be celebrated. But though Women’s Equality Day was established back in 1976, there has never been a woman president, nor has one been nominated by either party. Are we really regarded as equal? In 2008, for a short while it seemed like a woman had a good shot at the presidency, but does anyone remember the backlash Hilary Clinton received from male commentators in the media? I recall how vitriolic they were; I’d never heard anything like it. Male journalists analyzed Hilary Clinton’s legs, hairstyle, clothing; they made personal, offensive comments that would have been declared racially motivated if they’d been directed at Obama. But they weren’t racist, they were sexist, and even in 2014 that’s apparently regarded very lightly. In fact women are regarded as aggressive and humorless if they comment on it. It’s hard to imagine a black man’ being shrugged off as aggressive and humorless for commenting about racism, but misogyny is apparently more acceptable. So how far much have society’s attitudes towards women’s equality really evolved?

Take rape, for example: date rape, campus rape, stranger rape, rapes in the military, you name it, it’s never been so prevalent. The statistics for sexual violence against girls and women have skyrocketed since 1976, but I can’t see a corresponding outrage on Capitol Hill. When did people start accepting this trend as something sad but…well, inevitable? When did politicians become so complacent about the horrifying number of sex crimes against women that it is not even an issue they’re campaigning on? Why do thousands of rape kits sit gathering dust for years, while serial rapists walk around free? Is it because nine out of ten rapes happen to females? It might be, because I’m pretty sure that if 1.3 million males were raped in the USA every year, the Democrats and Republicans would declare a crisis and find a way of working together.

President Obama addressed the escalating rape statistics several years ago when he proclaimed April, 2009 to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Sexual assault is pervasive in the United States,” declared the President. “One recent study found that 18 per cent of women in this country have been raped in their lifetimes. In addition, rates of sexual assault remain startlingly high for students from high school to college A study of college women found that 13.7 percent of undergraduate women have been victims of sexual assault.”

Since 2009, the figures have only grown worse . The U.S. Center of Disease Prevention and Control in 2012 established that twenty percent of women in this country —one in 5 women! — have been raped or experienced an attempted rape; 10.5% of all high school girls have been sexually assaulted. One in four college girls experiences a sexual assault before she graduates.

“I urge all Americans” President Obama exhorted in his 2009 address, “ to respond to sexual assault by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in discussions with family and friends, and by making the prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.”

Well, that didn’t happen, did it? Unless I missed something. Five years after National Sexual Assault Awareness Month was instigated, little of what President Obama “urged” has happened. Instead there has been a growing complacency. “Sex crimes have risen dramatically in the last decade, “the FBI stated, “ and as I concerns law enforcement, it should be concerning all of us.” The FBI nailed it. Sex attacks on women and girls should be concerning the entire society our politicians, media, educators, athletic organizations, judges, military commanders, all of us. They should — but apparently they’re not.

So what are we meant to be celebrating, again?

Stranger stalking

Stranger Stalking

In previous posts I’ve spoken about the most common form of stalking which occurs after an intimate relationship ends, and one party- the stalker- has refused to let go. Their behavior is vindictive. He – or she- has determined their ex partner will not have the opportunity to build a new life without them at the center of it. They’re also intent on settling imaginary scores.

But what about the stranger stalker, and the erotomaniac? What do these stalkers have in common with the intimate partner stalker?

Well, firstly, they’re all obsessive, and highly narcissistic individuals. They are controlling. And manipulative. They lack empathy. Some of them – the psychopaths- lack a conscience, as well.
“All stalkers have personality disorders,” explains forensic psychiatrist Dr Park Dietz. “None of the people who engage in stalking behavior are normal individuals”.

Take for example, the stranger stalker. Typically this stalker has a history of failure with the opposite sex. He’s usually alienated from other people. If he’s employed, it’s likely to be in a job he hates, and probably because he lacks friends, he’s lonely. He wants the woman he has his eye on, to transform his wretched life into something positive and happy.

Retired FBI profiler John Douglas describes this individual’s need to compensate for feelings of insecurity and inadequacy as a red flag.. “Obviously not all insecure men become serial killers, rapists or stalkers, but it is an important element in the total picture and can often be the first warning sign. “  If the subject of his attention lets him know she isn’t interested in him, the stranger stalker can become violent.  His motivation is now to possess and control.
To prevent a stranger’s fantasy life from including us,  experts advise that women shouldn’t be too forthcoming in their  interactions with strangers or semi-strangers.
One prominent expert on stalking, Dr Park Dietz says in his experience it’s friendly, wholesome looking girls who are the most at risk from an approach by an inadequate personality, simply because they seem unguarded.
John Douglas saw the same thing when he was working as a criminal profiler. As he writes in his book, ‘Anatomy of Motive’ :
“ My daughters are both young women now, but I am tempted to advise them against being true to their warm and friendly natures: don’t talk to that man behind you in the supermarket line. Don’t say “Excuse me” and smile at that guy you bumped into on your way to the bathroom at the movies”

What about erotomania?

This stalker is completely delusional.  Erotomania is a mental disorder, resulting from schizophrenia or psychosis. The stalker believes the person he is stalking — often a stranger — is actually in love with him. As with John Hinckley, the man who stalked Jodie Foster.
Some erotomaniacs believe they have already had sexual relations with the victim. Some have deluded themselves that the victim wants to marry or co-habit with them. Though females as well as males can suffer from this delusion, men are more likely to act upon it.

Erotomania is the cause of most celebrity stalking, but erotomaniacs can also fixate on ordinary citizens. Without the bodyguards and tight security that a famous celebrity has at their disposal, a victim must resort to varying her routine and changing locks, phone numbers, passwords and residences.

Stranger stalking in general is a terrifying experience because the adversary is invisible and unknown. It is left to the target’s imagination to try and figure out who her pursuer might be.
In fact even when a target knows the stalker is her ex partner , she is not exempt from the psychological trauma that stalking involves. Not knowing what he intends to do , or when the stalker will strike, victims say, is the equivalent of finding yourself hiding in the darkness from a Ninja assassin.

Stalking: dealing with police and courts.

Call the police as soon as you realize you are being stalked.

Getting the police involved as soon as possible might frighten away a less determined stalker. But even if the stalker continues his harassment you will have to show the courts a course of conduct over a period of time.

Try to talk calmly to the police, because when they interview the stalker you can bet he will be doing his best to appear in control, and he will be telling them you’re the crazy one. If you have had a sexual relationship with the stalker, be frank about it. If the police find that you’ve lied to them, everything else you tell them will seem less credible.

Request that the police file a report and ask them how you can get hold of a copy of this report. You will need it if the stalking continues and you have to go to court.   Stalking convictions require a pattern of repeated acts.
Get hold of a copy of the stalking laws for your state, as well as the federal laws.
The police are there to protect and serve citizens. If you think the police aren’t taking your complaint seriously enough, ask to see a supervisor. If the police don’t comply, call 911 and ask for one.

These calls are recorded, and so you are not going to be refused by the dispatcher.
Tell the supervisor you want a report. If you are unhappy with the response, file a complaint.
Keep a record of the names of everyone you speak to in connection with the stalking, plus dates and time, and everything you have done so far to keep yourself safe. You might need it in court.

If you get a restraining order, bear in mind it may not stop the stalker. It may stop someone who is prominent in the community or a minor stalker, but there are no guarantees. However, there is another benefit. It establishes a record of your concern about the stalker, and it also gives police the right to arrest him if they find him near you.
Keep a copy of the restraining order on your person in case he approaches you, plus one at home and one at your place of work.
To help you in building a case against the stalker, save all evidence: phone calls, emails, tapes from answering machines. Be careful not to contaminate physical evidence with your fingerprints. Pick up letters by the corners. Put everything in clear plastic bags. Photograph any acts of vandalism. Videotape or photograph the stalker if he follows you or watches you from outside your home.

If the stalker is your ex.

It is important to cease all direct contact with the stalker. This is the No Contact rule as advised by psychologists specializing in these cases. Don’t respond to emails, letters or phone calls. Take precautions when you’re out, so you don’t come face to face with him. If he can’t intimidate you, which is what he wants, he may move on.
Never show him any emotion. Stalkers thrive on the fear or upset reactions of their victims.
Only meet him if it becomes essential and then only with professional third parties present: your lawyer, the police, a social worker.
Safeguard your computer.
Never discuss personal matters with him. Never negotiate, or attempt to reason with him or appease him. He will see these efforts as weakness. Don’t try to appeal to his conscience or empathy. He will see these appeals as evidence he is wearing you down.
Remember that any personal criticisms you make to his face are likely to backfire. They will be distorted to vindicate his delusions of persecution or entitlement and to fuel his fantasies of revenge.
Document everything: Keep a diary of what he says, and what he does. Record him on the answering machine.
If the stalker has started following you on the street or keeps showing up unannounced at your home or office. tell co-workers, neighbors, friends and family so they can be watchful on your behalf. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to stop a stalker.
Secure your home. You don’t want your stalker breaking in.
People don’t always behave compassionately, and sometimes they are quick to judge. When you are stalked or harassed you learn who your real friends are.Ignore personal criticisms, say the experts. His personality disorder is not your fault. The fact he has built a fantasy around controlling you is not your fault. He is the sick one. Stalking and harassment is a crime, so this man is engaging in criminal behavior.
A major reason police departments used to treat stalking cases lightly was because after filing charges against ex-partners, so many women would drop them. While this is understandable — the women were afraid, or they’d bought the line that their abuser had seen the error of his ways — it was counterproductive, because the abuse always intensified.
The personality disorder of a stalker does not just go away. These disorders are hardwired. They get worse as time goes by.
Because they see so many stalking cases, police departments know that it is likely to get worse, and so now they’re able to proceed with the charges even if the victim has changed her mind.

The Damage They Do.

“It is very likely that at some time in your life, you will come into painful contact with a psychopath. For your own physical, psychological and financial well-being, it is crucial that you know how to identify the psychopath, how to protect yourself, and how to minimize the harm done to you.”
(Dr Robert Hare, “Without Conscience; The Hidden World of the Psychopaths Amongst Us”)

Who would knowingly set out to exploit other people? To ruin reputations with lies? To play mind games with vulnerable people? To stalk an ex partner?

Malice is beyond the comprehension of most normal people are concerned, but then psychopaths aren’t normal people. They think differently to us. It makes them feel powerful to cause suffering. Their personality is disordered.

The majority of domestic abusers, con artists, stalkers, rapists, serial killers and child molesters are psychopaths. That’s why recognizing and avoiding them is essential to a happy life.

However most people behind bars aren’t psychopaths. Most prisoners are capable of rehabilitation. In fact only one fifth of those in prison are psychopaths. But, as criminologists point out, the psychopathic inmates commit predatory crimes, like rape,serial homicide, preying on children, and stalking.

As one forensic psychologist Dr J Reid Meloy writes: “predatory violence is not independent of the psychopathic process, and, in fact, appears to be quite dependent upon psychopathy.”

But whether they end up in jail or not – and plenty of them are doing very well on Wall Street instead- researchers conclude that psychopaths in their every day lives have a hard wired predatory mind-set. They are ruthless and willing to disregard the social and moral contracts that the rest of us abide by. They have a contempt for normal law-abiding citizens, whom they are quick to exploit.

Given this mindset, there is no psychopath who is harmless. In relationships. a psychopath leaves a trail of human wreckage and broken hearts wherever he goes. Does he feel bad about this? Psychopaths don’t experience remorse. The opposite is true. Psychopaths enjoy an aggressive satisfaction at making others suffer.

Psychiatrists estimate 80-% of psychopaths are male, and the majority of them are heterosexual.
Psychopaths are said to be 50-95% of stalkers (estimates vary between experts) , 50% and upwards of domestic abusers, 100% of con artists, 95% of serial killers and between 50 and 90% of serial rapists.

Trained hospital staff has observed that male psychopaths are able to dupe and manipulate females more easily than males. Most men sense there is something ‘off’ about them. But females are often charmed. The same is true with female psychopaths. Other women see through them more easily than men do.

There is always a high cost when an individual lets a psychopath into his or her life. Embarking on a relationship with a predatory individual with no conscience and a lot of aggression… isn’t going to lead living happily ever after. That’s because psychopaths are unable to relate to another human being without using them. Every intimate relationship inevitably becomes a power struggle, and psychopaths are obsessed with being the one in control.

Because psychopaths enjoy playing mind games, anyone who works in close contact with psychopaths over a prolonged period of time is vulnerable to developing PTSD . As former head of Quantico Roger Depue tells it “sometimes, no matter how hard the best profilers tried to avoid it” the psychopath got through their defense systems.

For that reason most psychiatrists today refuse to accept psychopathic clients. Also, because many doctors have been stalked by psychopathic clients.

But what about family members, who usually don’t even know about psychopaths until the damage has been done, and they are sitting in a psychiatrists’ office? Why weren’t they taught to recognize this disorder, so they could make an informed choice when it came to choosing an intimate partner?

Many women –and men- have had their lives destroyed by a psychopath.

In my upcoming book. ‘The Girls Guide to Predators’ I survey the personality traits that indicate a dangerously disordered personality. I will give you a brief run down on the history of psychopathy, what the term means, and how to recognize when you are being conned.

One of the tell tale signs of psychopaths is pathological deception, so I will provide a list of red flags indicating you are being lied to. Another is extreme narcissism. There’s a chapter on that.

What about the danger of making a false identification? It’s my view that if someone has the red flags of psychopathy, you don’t want to have an intimate relationship with them anyway.

If you have just left a dangerous relationship I will tell you the precautions to take if you are being stalked. If you are trying to divorce a psychopath, I will explain the common tactics the psychopath will try to use to financially avenge himself upon you.

In relationships with psychopaths, the “victimization goes far beyond trying to take advantage of someone on a date or during a simple business transaction.

The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. ”
(Dr Robert Hare and Dr Paul Babiak)

Making security arrangements

Fearing for their lives, many stalking victims go into hiding. While experts tell us that in this information age it is easy for stalkers to track down a new location, there are ways to protect yourself if you plan to move:
• Keep as much personal information about yourself as you can off the public record.
• Have people you love and trust phone you long distance only from pay phones.
• Be careful about divulging information over a cell phone. It can be intercepted.
• Never provide personal information to anyone who doesn’t have an essential need for it.

Stalkers are cunning folk. They often find ingenious means to get around security arrangements. They are prepared to pose as relatives, teachers, cops or employers to get to their prey. They may also attempt abductions.

The Information Highway
How can you stop a stalker from gaining personal information about you?
In the USA, victims can be tracked through their social security number. Also, information about your address can be located through the internet just by the simple fact of a woman using her name. The best way around this is to open a private mailbox at some distance from your new home. That’s the address you should give for your bills, magazine subscriptions, telephone and utilities accounts. You will still have to supply your real address to the utilities companies, but if you explain the situation they are usually sympathetic. Your bill can be sent anywhere; it doesn’t have to be sent to your home.

Tell the utilities companies that you want to encode your account with a password. Not the name of a pet or a child’s birthday, but a word chosen at random from the dictionary.

Receive no mail other than personal mail at your new home from people you can completely trust.

Unlisted phone numbers are too easy to get, so instead put your phone under a different name..

Have the account of your cell phone number sent to an address that’s not your private home, and also have it in a different name. Get a password put on that account, too.

It’s too easy to get the residential address of a property owner by consulting local government records. If you own property, you should transfer the title to some-one in the family who you trust. It’s not a great idea to transfer voter registration to your new address. Not voting is better than being tracked down.

Change the address of your vehicle registration and driver’s license to the private mailbox and do the same with your checks.
Sign up for caller ID so you know who is calling you before you pick up. But also request complete blocking so that your phone number will be blocked when someone else’s caller ID is activated.

Civilians can get access to court files on domestic cases as well as criminal cases. These cases always include addresses. If your information is in court files, hire a lawyer and get the records sealed. Usually all the lawyer has to do is provide the court with information about why exposing this information would be damaging to you.

If any of their girlfriends or sisters is being stalked or abused, women should put their heads together about ways to support her escape and recovery.

It takes a village.

Domestic stalking

In 2009, the US Justice Department released the results of the largest survey ever done in the USA on stalking. The report stated that 3.4 million Americans had identified themselves as having been stalked during a one-year period. Seventy eight percent of them were female, twenty two percent were male .
“Harassment or stalking exists when old lovers or partners don’t want to let go of their prey.”

In this study, stalking was defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person on at least two separate occasions that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. The most common forms of stalking were unwanted phone calls (66 per cent), unsolicited emails or letters (31 per cent) or having rumors spread about them (36 per cent).

Nearly 75 per cent of the victims were familiar with their stalker, who in most cases was an ex-partner.

A spokesperson for the US National Victim Center recently stated un-categorically: “All stalkers have personality disorders.” Forensic psychiatrist Dr Park Dietz agrees. “None of the people who engage in stalking behavior are normal individuals.” It is estimated that more than around 50 per cent – some say as high as 90%- of non stranger stalkers are psychopaths; the rest are malignant narcissists or have a borderline personality disorder. But all of them are highly narcissistic and aggressive. And all of them are engaging in antisocial and criminal behavior.

Criminologists maintain  that most psychopaths who go on to stalk their ex-partners have the same basic inadequate personality structure as serial killers. What kind of personality is that? Former detective Robert Keppel, who made his reputation investigating the Ted Bundy case, says it’s “people who have abnormally short tempers, who snap at those around them during stress, who are prone to violence as a first resort . . . and who are almost pathological about exerting control over others and over events around them”.

The majority of domestic stalkers express their hostility towards the enemy — the ex partner who rejected them — without committing homicide. They stay at what’s called a ‘compensatory ‘level of violence. Nevertheless, according to forensic psychologists, they are still ‘terrorists’: whether stalking an ex-wife, or spreading fear through a city with a string of serial rapes or murders.

What separates the serial rapist or serial killer from the domestic stalker is nothing more than how he chooses to act out his rage and frustration. The choices the psychopath makes determines his position on the continuum of violence. The threshold is “frighteningly narrow and the numbers of people on the edge so great,” said Keppel.

In the Justice Department study, the average period of stalking was two years. Eleven per cent of victims reported having been stalked for five years or longer. The most vulnerable were women who had been recently divorced or separated from their partner.

Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the US National Center for Victims of Crime and a former prosecutor, said that what she found most remarkable about stalking in comparison to other crimes was 1. the persistence of the predatory behavior and 2. its long-term deleterious effects on the target.
“When you consider the impact that stalking has on a victim’s life, five weeks is forever — five years is incredible,” she said. ‘They often have to give up their current life, leave their jobs, their homes, establish a whole new identity.’

Stalking his target, and watching her unobserved, makes a psychopath feel powerful.  Every psychopath who ends up stalking his ex-partner was acting out a less intense version when they lived together. He was monitoring her every movement, keeping an eye on her schedule, reading her emails, checking whom she is with.  Why?  In the words of criminal profiler John E. Douglas it’s because of “Manipulation. Domination. Control”. This is what obsesses every psychopath. And psychopaths who stalk their ex-partners are driven by an obsession to regain manipulation, domination and control over their escaped prey.

Unlike celebrity stalkers — who are mentally disturbed individuals driven by delusions of  a romantic relationship with the celebrity— non stranger stalkers are rational and cunning. The target is someone with whom they once had a relationship. When it ended they purposefully and maliciously tried to destroy her life, whether emotionally or physically.

Non stranger stalkers know right from wrong. They expect to get away with their crime. The stalker embarks on a campaign of relentless harassment, threat and pursuit, fuelled by rage that his prey rejected him.

Lawyer Rhonda B. Saunders has found that among stalkers, “the stalkers of ex-intimates make up the most dangerous and malevolent group.” She is a US prosecutor who was instrumental in bringing anti-stalking legislation to California. Her mission is to provide legal protection for victims of stalking.

Stalkers deny an ex-partner has the right to leave the relationship, before they say it’s ‘game over’. Rejection in their eyes is a declaration of war. More than 80 per cent of men who murder their wives stalked them beforehand. Yet stalking didn’t become a crime in the USA until 1990.
Stalking as a crime involves three criteria:
1. Intent to harm or intimidate or create emotional distress in the victim.
2. Implied or explicit threats.
3. A pattern of harassment over a period of time

Nearly 90 per cent of stalkers are men. Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women. Most of those victims are stalked by ex-partners. And in the US, 30 per cent of all homicides against women are committed by current or former partners.
While domestic stalkers seek privacy and control over their ex-wives, all too often friends — sometimes, sadly, even some family members — allow them that privacy, by distancing themselves from by the woman being stalked, lest they be seen as ‘friendly’ to her.

Indifferent witnesses often rationalize that retreat as not wanting to get involved. Some even blame the woman. who ‘must have done something to make him angry’. It’s the same fear of intervening that we see with high school bullying, or psychological violence in the workplace. And when psychopaths learn that their aggression won’t be challenged by those around them , their behavior becomes more extreme.

Those who turn their backs according to experts, are more likely to blame the victim than the abuser. She must be ‘weak willed’ or ‘masochistic’, and thus- the suggestion runs- have it coming.

“We blame her as the batterer did,” said Andrea who survived an abusive marriage. “We ask why she stayed, though of course were not prepared to stand between her and the batterer so she could leave.”

If  the victim was masochistic, says Dr Marie- France Hirigoyen who counsels victims with PTSD issues, she wouldn’t be so relieved to be out of an abusive relationship.

Those who are stalked are usually the opposite of weak-willed, say experts in the field. The stalking behavior happens because the victim wouldn’t give the stalker what he wants, which is to manipulate and dominate her; she had rejected him.  ‘The women I know who have been stalked have been in relationships with people who have power and control issues,’ says one victims’ rights advocate.

Stalking is a pretty safe game for psychopaths , because there is so little risk of punishment. Though stalking is illegal, many judges still give offenders a slap on the wrist, rather than a stiff jail sentence. Despite the fact it is the victim who turned to the court for protection, the stalker — ironically — is often the one who is protected from the consequences of his illegal behavior.

Stalking is a contest to regain dominance. Most psychopaths are not prepared to let the partner who rejected them go, without making her life a misery first.  To prevent more intimate partner homicides, experts say courts need to do their job better, and lawyers and judges should be better informed about stalking and domestic abuse. In 1993, the Nevada Supreme Court closed down all courts in the state for one day, and ordered the judges to attend a training program on domestic violence. This is something more family courts should be prepared to do.

Sadly, protective orders often prove useless in preventing violence. In any case of long-term stalking that ended in homicide there was usually a restraining order at some point. It was simply ignored by the stalker. Inconceivably, often judges today still fail to punish those who violate restraining orders. As one cop who has seen this happen too often complained with frustration, ‘How can we say we’re living in a free country if so many women are being stalked and the law doesn’t protect them?’