U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

On Being Stalked

NCJ Number
Social Problems Volume: 45 Issue: 3 Dated: August 1998 Pages: 289-314
R M Emerson; K O Ferris; C B Gardner
Date Published
26 pages
This article examines the social processes through which relational stalkings emerge and come to be recognized as such.
Some reported cases of stalking involve efforts to extract vengeance from another right from the start; others ultimately come to center around vengeful threats and violence. But the dynamic characteristic of most cases involves efforts to establish or reestablish a relationship in the face of the other's resistance. From the perspective of the person being pursued, these processes involve permutations and exaggerations of a variety of common relational behaviors, including: recognizing that one is being followed; learning that another is pursuing detailed information about one's life and routines; fielding and putting off persistent relational proposals; and countering continuing relational escalations. Under these circumstances, the pursuer's attentions may eventually turn strongly hostile and even violent, leading to the kinds of threats and harm that have come to be publicly identified as "stalking." Notes, references