This week: I'll be watching youEdited by: Arakun the Twisted Raccoon
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Quote for the week:
"Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watching you"
~ From "Every Breath You Take"
Written by Sting and performed by The Police
Few feelings are more unnerving than the sensation that you are being watched. The ability to sense the presence of a predator is an instinct that helps keep prey animals alive.
Unlike an animal predator that is simply hunting for food, human stalkers have more malicious intentions. The definition of stalking varies slightly according to laws of different states and countries, but it usually involves a pattern of unwanted behavior that intimidates or harasses the victim. This may include a wide range of behaviors, such as sending unwanted gifts, notes, text messages, or phone calls. A stalker might repeatedly visit the victim's home or workplace and harass them or simply watch them.
In many cases, a stalker is a jealous ex spouse or lover, and does not try to conceal their identity from the victim. In others, all gifts or messages might be sent anonymously, and the victim has no clue to the identity of the stalker. The latter type of stalker may be a socially awkward individual who thinks their gestures are romantic. This individual may have fantasized about a romantic relationship with a victim who only knows them slightly, or in some cases not at all.
A stalker who claims to love the victim may seem harmless, but they can turn threatening, or even deadly if they feel the victim has spurned their advances. Actress Rebecca Schaeffer was killed by an obsessed fan who had been stalking her for three years. The fan apparently flew into a jealous rage after watching a movie scene in which Schaeffer was shown in bed with another actor.
Cyberstalkers use the internet to harass, intimidate, or frighten another person or group. A cyberstalker may send email or instant messages or may hack in to the victim's computer or phone. They might set up a false profile and join internet groups where the victim is also a member.
Before a person can be prosecuted for stalking, most laws require that at least two separate incidents take place in order to establish a pattern of behavior. While some US state laws require that the stalker must have intended to intimidate or cause fear, others simply require a pattern of behavior consistent with stalking. If your story involves a character being legally accused of stalking, make sure you know the local laws of the place where your story is set. Remember that some stalkers might have researched the laws themselves and know exactly how much they can get away with legally.
In some mystery stories, stalking might lead up to a more serious crime such as kidnapping, rape, or murder. In others, finding the identity of an anonymous stalker might be the main mystery itself.
Something to try: Write a mystery story that involves a stalker.
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