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Interpersonal Violence

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Am I being stalked?

Definitions vary by jurisdiction, but the general definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. 

Incidents can occur on a regular basis (every day/week/month) or infrequently. Regardless, if the action(s) make you feel unsafe, it could be stalking.

Each year 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked in the U.S. In addition, 77 percent of female victims and 64 percent of male victims know their stalker. However, whether being stalked by someone close to you or someone you barely know, you should take it seriously and report it as soon as possible. 

Stalking can and often does escalate and can be lethal. A study in 1999 found that 76 percent of female homicide victims murdered by their intimate partner had also been stalked by that partner. Therefore, it is important to tell someone about the stalking in order to keep you safe.

Legal Definition of stalking in Wisconsin

This information was taken from the Wisconsin State Statutes and is not in its entirety.  The statute in full can be found at Wisconsin Statute 940.32

  1. Two or more acts carried out over time, however short or long, that show a continuity of purpose, including any of the following:
    1. Maintaining a visual or physical proximity to the victim.
    2. Approaching or confronting the victim.
    3. Appearing at the victim's workplace or contacting the victim's employer or coworkers.
    4. Appearing at the victim's home or contacting the victim's neighbors.
    5. Entering property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim.
    6. Contacting the victim by telephone or causing the victim's telephone or any other person's telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously, regardless of whether a conversation ensues.
    7. Sending material by any means to the victim or for the purpose of obtaining by the victim.
    8. Delivering an object to a member of the victim's family or household or an employer, coworker, or friend of the victim or placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by such a person with the intent that the object be delivered to the victim.
    9. Causing a person to engage in any of the acts described insubds. 7. to 9.
  1. Whoever meets all of the following criteria is guilty of a Class I felony:
    1. The actor intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person under the same circumstances to fear bodily injury to or the death of himself or herself or a member of his or her family or household.
    2. The actor intends that at least one of the acts that constitute the course of conduct will place the specific person in reasonable fear of bodily injury to or the death of himself or herself or a member of his or her family or household.
    3. The actor's acts induce fear in the specific person of bodily injury to or the death of himself or herself or a member of his or her family or household.

Examples of Stalking:

Following someone, watching them from afar, continuous phone calls or text messsages, delivering unwanted items/gifts to a person's residence, place of work, using other people to make contact. Stalking can also be done via technology, such as constant emails, through chat rooms, instant and text messenging, cell phones and pagers, and/or GPS tracking systems secretly installed on your vehicle.