Stalking is communicating crime and it should not be gender biased but in our country stalking is held only against the women’s. Stalking and harassing is not treated as serious crime and due to the fear of being stalked many women and girls avoid getting out of their house. Stalking is unwanted and repeated surveillance by an individual or group toward another person. It may use overt and covert intimidation, threats and violence to frighten their victims.
Section 354D of Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of stalking. However, according to it, it can be an offence by an man against a women. Stalking behavior can take many forms including; Any other behavior used to contact, harass, track, or threaten someone. Making threats against someone, or that person’s family or friends. Repeated physical or visual closeness, like waiting for an someone to arrive at certain locations, following someone, or watching someone from a distance
Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety
Melroy and Gothard
A crime of engaging in a course of conduct directed at a person that serves no legitimate purpose and seriously alarms, annoys, or intimidates that person
STALKING AS SOCIAL INTERACTION
In most cases stalking must be identified and defined as such by the victim. That process involves interpretation, in which ambiguity is resolved through the application of the label “stalking.” The relational stalking begins as a new or developing relationship. Most new relationship involve an individual who seeks out further contact with another person. Although every gesture need not meet with a positive response, most new relationships involve a pattern of gradually increasing sharing, of mutual efforts at relationship building. Still that process may involve asking themselves what the other wants and what the other’s actions might mean. What was initially ambiguous or confusing behavior is now redefined in such cases people label themselves as victims of stalking.
STALKING IN INDIA
The stalking was covered under category of just harassment such as voyeurism, sexual harassment against women and it was covered under Section 354 and Section 509 for using words or gestures to insult a woman’s modesty. In 2013, Indian parliament made amendments to the Indian Penal Code, introducing stalking as a criminal offence. A man committing the offence of stalking would be liable for imprisonment up to three for the first offence, and shall also be liable to time and for any subsequent conviction would be liable for imprisonment up to five years and with fine.
HISTORY OF STALKING
During the early 20th century, for example, psychiatrists used the term erotomania to describe the delusion of being loved by someone, often a prominent or even famous person. In the 1980s journalists described “obsession” and “psychological rape” as problem in relationship, rather than as evidence of mental illness or as crimes. Activists in the movement against domestic violence soon linked their cause to the concern over star stalking. They argued that women attempting to leave abusive relationship often sought restraining orders against their former partners. In 1990 California passed the first anti-stalking law in the United States. By the early 21st century, all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia had criminalized stalking, and similar policies had been adopted by countries around the world. Some offered a measure of protection under existing harassment statutes, whereas others codified new laws to protect victims of stalking. Examinations of stalking behavior, however, argued that in most cases men stalked women and that stalking was a form of male domination in a patriarchal society.
MODES OF STALKING
There is no any particular mode but option and ways through which one can stalk, some of them are as follows;
Threaten to sexual assault,
Trying to communicate forcefully,
Following the girls,
Abuse and harass parents and friends,
Visited home for unnecessary purpose and stood outside home,
Physical assault and threaten to physical assault,
Cyber stalking through social media and different apps.
THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO STALK
As technology and digital platforms continue to grow, so do the chances that someone could interact with you in an unwanted, sexual manner. Some uses of technology to stalk include, Posting threatening or personal information about someone on public internet forums. Video voyeurism, or installing video cameras that give the stalker access to someone without their knowledge or consent. Persistently sending unwanted communication through the internet, such as spamming someone’s email inbox or social media platform. Using someone’s computer and spyware to track their computer activity.
IMPACT OF STALKING
Professional contacts; These are victims who have been stalked by patients, clients, or students who they have had a professional relationship with. Certain professions such as health care providers, teachers, and lawyers are at a higher risk for stalking.
Strangers; These victims are typically unaware of how stalkers began stalking because typically these stalkers from a sense of a admiration for their victims form a distance.
The famous; These victims are individuals who are portrayed heavily on media outlets but can also include individuals such as politicians and athletes.
Casual acquaintances and friends; Among male stalking victims, most are part of this category. This category of victims also include neighbor stalking. The result was the victim’s change the residence.
Workplace contacts; The stalkers of these victims tend to visit them in their workplace which means that they are either an employer, employee, or a customer. When victims have stalkers coming to their workplace, this poses a threat not only to the victim’s safety but to the safety of other individuals as well.
TYPES OF STALKERS
Rejected stalker; Those who follow someone in order to take revenge from them due to personal grudges such as divorce, separation.
Heroic stalker; Seek to establish an intimate, loving relationship with their victim. Such stalkers often believe that the victim is a long-sought-after soul mate, and they were meant to be together.
Resentful stalkers; Make a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims motivated mainly by the desire to frighten and distress the victim.
Predatory stalkers; Those who follow the victims in order to make plans for the attack and sexual harassment on the victim.
Incompetent suitors; Despite poor social or counting skills, have a fixation, or in some cases, a sense of entitlement to an intimate relationship with those who have attracted their amorous interest.
Cyber stalking is the use of computer or other electronic technology to facilitate stalking. Among the college students, menard and pincus found that men who had a high score of sexual abuse as children and narcissistic vulnerability were more likely to become stalkers. The male participants revealed the opposite, 16% were over stalkers while 11% were cyber stalkers.
HOW TO MAKE COMPLAINT AGAINST STALKING
To make written complaint against thee stalker to authorities of the workplace or to legal cells created by the institution or corporation. To make complaint in online grievance redressal where the women who do not want to come out in the light to lodge FIR, they can file a complaint against stalking at the national commission for women. The commission thereafter deals with local police and start looking up into the matter. To lodge FIR directly in the nearest police station. To make complaints in cyber cells which is established to register the cases and to provide expeditious redressal to the victims of cybercrime which specifically deal with internet related criminal activity. To report to the websites and apps as most of the social media websites such as Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. Provides options for reporting the mischievous and unlawful activities of stalking and harassments. These websites are obliged under Intermediary Guidelines Rules, 2011 to act within 36 hours to disable information related to offending content.
WHAT TO DO IF STALKING HAPPENS
Stalking may escalate in behavior. Consider the following tips to increase your safety and effectively report the crime. Try to avoid the person stalking you. This can be difficult at times, especially if the person stalking you is close to you or your family. Keep any evidence received from the stalker such as text messages, voicemails, letters, packages, emails, etc, but do not respond. Inform family, friends, supervisors, and co-workers of the situation. Consider reporting the stalking to local law enforcement. Keeping an accurate journal or log of all incident connected to the stalking. If you have children, create a code word that lets them know they need to leave the house or call the police. If you are being stalked through communication technology, like email or text messaging, making it clear that you wish to stop contact.
Stalking is illegal in most areas of the world, some of the actions that contribute to stalking may be legal, such as gathering information, calling someone on the phone, texting, sending gifts, emailing, or instant messaging. Stalking and harassing is not treated as serious crime and due to the fear of being stalking many women and girls avoid getting out of their house. Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Jayasudha S, right now pursuing my 3rd year B.A., LL.B at Chennai Dr Ambedkar Govt Law College Pudupakkam