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Stalking Victims Suffer In Silence

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, February 16, 2009 4:30 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Karen's Law, Stalking, DOJ, Privacy Rights, Safety

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IMAGE SOURCE: Archive, People Magazine cover of Rebecca Schaeffer, May 1989

Stalking More Common Than Reported

Many victims of stalking suffer in silence. According to the first nationwide look at stalking by the Justice Department study, about one in three stalking cases are even reported to authorities. Even with underreporting there were 3.4 million people subjected to stalking, according to researchers.

Whether a celebrity, a spurned lover, or a stranger, stalking happens frequently enough that it is a crime in every state.

Researchers in the DOJ study measured stalking as, making unwanted phone calls, sending unsolicited or unwanted letters of e-mails, following or spying on a victim, showing up at a place where they had no reason to be, leaving unwanted present, waiting at places for a victim and spreading information or rumors on the internet, or in public places.

Researchers find that women are more frequently the focus of stalkers and sometimes it can last for five years of more as it did in 374,000 cases. With all of the frequency, the New York Times reports that a small number of cases ever makes it to court because the cases are difficult to put together.

First there has to be physical evidence. And frequently the victim of the stalker does not even report the incident to authorities believing it is a personal matter or will not be taken seriously. But Mary Lou Leary, of the National Center for Victims of Crime, tells the New York Times that stalking is like domestic violence was perceived more than two decades ago. “Law enforcement is often suspicious or cynical, but is now beginning to deal with stalking as a crime.”

After actress Rebecca Schaeffer was killed by a stalker in 1989, law enforcement began taking the offense seriously. While the first offense is often a misdemeanor, punishments can include a year in jail and ordered counseling.

In 34 states, stalking is a felony especially when accompanied by a threat of violence or possessing a weapon. The Times reports of a case where a man broke into the house of his victim and took a photo of her sleeping. Convicted of stalking he is now spending 13 years in prison.

Karen’s Law, proposed by the victim of credit card fraud, electronic tempering of her computer and bank accounts along with phone threats, is awaiting signature by the Governor of New Jersey.

Steve Lombardi, IB partner from Iowa, reports on cell phone stalking as the newest turn in incidents. #


3 Comments

Posted by Alexis A Moore
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 12:48 PM EST

Thank you for posting regarding stalking crimes. Victims should not have to feel ashamed to report ever; however, today stalking is still not taken as seriously by law enforcement and our nation's law makers as it should be.

Stalking cases involving the use of tech are also on the rise and the more we can spread awareness and encourage others to do the same the better!

One person can make a difference! If you are a victim of stalking or cyberstalking you are not alone!

Posted by Dawn V. Martin, Esquire
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 1:03 PM EST

I am also very glad that the issues involved in stalking are being brought to light. Additional legislation is needed, both in terms of law enforcement and in preventing the stalking victim from being further victimized by their employers or others. We need federal legislation mirroring the New York City Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination and retaliation against victims of stalking and domestic violence. Please join the efforts to protect stalking victims in their workplaces as well as their homes. Please join the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and me, in our efforts to protect stalking victims from employer retaliation, either through the courts or through legislation. See Press Release and tv documentary linked below.

PRESS RELEASE: February 12, 2009
Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin, LLC e-mail: dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com
(202) 408-7040; (703) 642-0207 website: LINK

TV Documentary on Federal Case Holding that a Woman can be Fired for being Stalked by a Stranger in her Workplace, or “Working while Female”

Washington, D.C. – Martin v. Howard University and Alice Gresham Bullock, U.S. Supreme Court No. 08-204. WATCH a new television documentary, featuring esteemed leaders such as Kim Gandy (President of NOW), renowned civil rights Professor Derrick Bell and a former Howard University Security Officer, Dr. Amos Sirleaf, who all strongly support former Howard Law School Professor, Dawn Martin in her efforts to protect stalking victims against employer retaliation.
WATCH television documentary (28 minutes long), on the Insider Exclusive website, with producer/host Steve Murphy, below.

LINK

(For clearest digital viewing, download Apple quicktime 7.6 version.)

A 10 minute version of the show has already been watched on You-Tube by nearly 18 thousand of viewer, in its first day of posting alone!
See LINK

Insider Exclusive website, with producer/host Steve Murphy, at LINK (For clearest digital viewing, download Apple quicktime 7.6 version.) Ms. Martin has also been featured on Sky Radio as part of its series on “Salute to Women in Leadership,” noted in Time Magazine and numerous radio shows.

Martin is the first case to present the issue of "gender profiling" in the employment context -- or the "working while female" factor. The National Organization for Women (NOW) and the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), joined by additional women’s and victims’ advocacy groups, filed an Amicus Brief in this case, stressing the need to protect stalking victims from employer retaliation. Prof. Dawn Martin was stalked taught at Howard University Law School by a delusional, homeless, serial stalker of African-American female professors, Leonard Harrison. Harrison was searching for the physical embodiment of his "fantasy" wife -- a fictional female character in a book, written by the renowned civil rights Professor, Derrick Bell. Instead of following its own security procedures to ban Harrison from campus, Howard responded to Prof. Martin’s requests for protection by refusing to renew her teaching contract. She sued Howard, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment, on the basis of sex/gender. Prof. Martin alleged that Howard permitted the stalker to harass her on the basis of her gender in her workplace. 78% of stalking victims are women. 54% of female murder victims reported their stalkers to the police before being killed by them. Prof. Martin further alleged that Howard retaliated against her by refusing to renew her teaching contract because she asked for protection from Harrison on campus.

In 1999, the federal district court set precedent in Martin, adopting the EEOC Regulation 29 CFR 1604.11(e), holding that an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassment of an employee, by a non-employee, if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to stop it. In 2006, after a trial, the jury agreed with Prof. Martin that Harrison’s harassment did create a “hostile work environment” for her and that that Howard did not take reasonable steps to end it; yet, the jury verdict was for Howard. With insufficient legal instruction from the Court, the confused jurors found that the harassment was not based on sex; Prof. Martin’s complaints were not therefore not “protected activity” under Title VII. The Supreme Court initially declined to review Martin, but nine days later, it decided Crawford v Nashville. Crawford clarified that “protected activity” under Title VII is a question of law for the Court, not a factual question for a jury. On February 9, 2009, therefore, Ms. Martin filed a motion to supplement her Petition for Rehearing, to include the law set by Crawford. Under Crawford, the jury should never have been required to decide this legal question. The Supreme Court has never addressed the issue of workplace stalking. The application of “gender profiling” to sexual harassment cases will also set precedent for racial, ethnic, religious groups in profiling harassment cases under Title VII and other EEO statutes. For more details and links to other cites discussing the case, see LINK /MartinvHowardU.

Posted by Karen
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 1:46 PM EST

Thank you for raising awareness around this horrific crime of stalking! I have struggled against a vengeful stalker for over a decade. With the strength of the new NJ legislation, I hope to see him brought to justice.

Comments for this article are closed.

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