Having been stalked and read up on it a bit, I thought I might as well share with some readers what the basics are in terms of a stalking. Two things I learned that surprised me: (1) I actually thought I was being stalked before I was (legally speaking) and (2) stalking comes with much heavier penalties than I would have guessed.
(1) “Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim; others include threats against the victim’s immediate family; and still others require only that the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat. While some conduct involving annoying or menacing behavior might fall short of illegal stalking, such behavior may be a prelude to stalking and violence and should be treated seriously.” Wikipedia
I had thought that stalking just referred to general harassment, etc… never realized a threat of violence was needed. Only recently (the last week or so) did my stalker actually start implying violence (threatening “real world consequence” and indefinite outcomes like “or else”)
(2) “Federal law provides a number of important tools that are available to combat cyberstalking. Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another.” USDOJ.gov
Now I have to say that really got my attention. Five years in jail and up to a quarter-million dollars in fines? That’s a pretty harsh penalty, but then again, stalking can be harsh too. So, if you’re being stalked: know your rights and know what the legal boundaries are (look them up yourself, I’m not a lawyer!). Anyway, I would think that sane stalker (is there such a thing?) would see information like this and back off, but I suppose you never know!