Some may say that if a person follows the other person wherever the person goes it can be termed as Stalking. Some might have the views that a person trying to harass the other person by using electronic means like hacking emails, Facebook accounts, what’s app messages, phone calls or keeping an eye through any other means or by kind of an act wherein a person would create a sense of obsession with the victim will betermed as a “Stalker”. All these statements are true but stalking involves much more to it.
WHAT IS STALKING AND WHAT ARE ITS EFFECTS
“Stalking is willful, malicious and repeatedly harassing of another person” which is unwanted. Stalking also involves mental harassment to the victim causing worst impact on the phycology. Victims might have to face harassment, fear, intimidation, severe depression, panic attacks etc, as no person can be comfortable knowing the fact that someone is keeping an eye on their personal life. More often than not, a stalker is very much aware of the fact that another person is getting annoyed by his acts but still they continue doing it because they built certain psyche wherein they are unable to decide of what they are doing is incorrect and even after several rejections from the victim, they don’t stop. A Stalker
A Stalker canget so obsessed with the victim that he/she can go up to any extend to gain attention, the main purpose is to meet or to talk to the victim and have a control over them or it can be for taking a revenge from victim because of continuous rejections or humiliation stalker has faced because of the victim. The victims of cyber stalking can suffer emotional, social or/and professional turmoil and disturbances. The helplessness,
The helplessness, humiliation and constant harassment can bring changes to a victim’s life. Cyber stalking becomes more aggravated when it is accompanied by threats and blackmailing. Most women avoid bringing the victimization to the fore under a fear of jeopardizing their life. This stigma attached to an
This stigma attached to an offence sexual in nature makes the offence sadly go unreported. A victim of cyber stalking should not suffer in silence but instead immediately inform the police to the nearest police station by making a complaint attached with all the evidence available that is emails/messages/posts etc. sent by the offender. If the police fail to take any action, the victim can approach the DCP and/or Judicial Magistrates.
With the emergence of social media and internet dependence, cyber crimes have also become rampant. Cyber stalking is one of such offence which is now also recognized by the law. Cyber stalking is use of internet to stalk or harass an individual or a group. Cyber stalking is perhaps more common than physical harassment now which involves offensive and unwanted emails, messages, threats, badgering, defamation, false accusations, solicitation of sex creating fake ids of the victim to seek their attention and harass them etc. Cyber stalking mostly pertains to use of emails, social network, instant messaging, or any other form of internet or electronic medium by the stalker. Instances where the man created fake profile of the woman to defame her to seek vendetta for rejection of his proposal, or where morphed photographs of the woman were tagged on Facebook, to even vicious internet trolling are all examples of cyber stalking. Cyber stalking can be identified as causing harassment, humiliation, embarrassment to the victim. It may also lead to harassment of the family, friends, colleagues. It may result not only in creating intimidation and fear but also isolation of the victim
TYPE OF STALKERS:
These stalkers are people who think that ‘their’ love has been rejected by thevictim, where the victim has rejected their proposal. Such stalkers are usually jealous in nature and always try to seek attention from the victim to get them back. They can make endless calls, drop massages, mails, can come outside your house. The rejection is not comfortably accepted by such people and it results into low self-esteem and destructive nature.
This stalker desires to threaten or distress the victim and usually stalks the victim to get revenge as they were insulted or got hurt because of the victim. This type of stalker can be the most obsessive type of stalker. This type of stalker is most likely to verbally threaten the victim and can physically assault the victim.
This type of stalker stalks the victim as part of a plan to attack them, usually they sexually assault the victim.This type of stalker often has poor self-esteem, poor love life, and may have lower than normal intelligence. They may stalk someone they know or a complete stranger. They usually do not harass or try to contact the victim while they are stalking. But they can make obscene phone calls or watch you secretly while you are changing clothes (voyeurism). This type of stalker may stalk for a shorter period of time than other types of stalkers.
This Stalker seeks to establish an intimate, love relationship with the victim and may believe that the victim is in love with them. They live under a delusion. The stalker believes that the victim may be the only person who can satisfy their desires and sees the survivor as an ideal partner. The stalker may interpret any kind of response from the victim even negative responses, as encouragement and may believe the victim owes them love because of the timeand energy they have invested on victim. This type of stalker may stalk known or complete strangers.If the stalker recognizes they are being rejected by the victim, they may become threatening or violent. This stalker maybe writing letters to the victim, calling on phone, or sending gifts. The stalker may become jealous if the victim enters or continues a romantic relationship with another person. Such stalker is among the most adamant type of stalker.
Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code:
Cyber stalking can be either by strangers, intimate partners, of celebrities and public persons, or it could be anonymously by a group. The Indian law is not so framed to tackle the issue of cyber stalking with desired fervor. Prior to February 2013, there were no laws that directly regulated cyber stalking in India. The Indian Penal Code was amended in 2013 after the Nirbhaya case to make law more stringent against perpetrators of violence against women and covered cyber stalking as an offence in the Section 354D. Though the section is not worded to define cyber stalking however, stalking in general has been defined as a man who follows or contacts a woman, despite clear indication of disinterest to such contact by the woman, or monitoring of use of internet or electronic communication of a woman. The offence of stalking is an imprisonment up to three years on first conviction and on a second or subsequent conviction the imprisonment could extend up to five years. In each case, the offender shall also be liable to pay the fine. India’s Information Technology Act of 2000 (IT Act) was a set of laws to regulate the cyberspace. However, it merely focused on financial crimes and neglected interpersonal criminal behaviours. The IT Act does not deal with cyber stalking and cyber bullying per se.
IMPACT OF STALKING ON VICTIMS:
Stalking can majorly effect the health and mental status of a victim, they can feel annoyed, fearful, there is always a feeling of being alone and helpless, leading to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, always frightened to leave the house, never feeling safe,inability to sleep. It can drastically change the personality of the personmaking the person suspicious, introvert or aggressive. In some cases, it may also impact the health by increased intake of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of usual activities e.g., going to the gym, going out, socialization issues, isolation through trying to protect others, feeling misunderstood or other psychological symptoms. The changed behavior of the victim can also result others to withdraw from the victim as they feel unable to cope up with the victim’s mental state or as a direct consequence of third-party victimization. Victim moving to a new area, changing their phone number, increased expense of home and personal security, seeking psychological counselling and medical treatment are other aspects of effects of stalking.Therefore, it is very important to involve family and friends to get mental support to deal with such kind of a situation.
Stalking is a crime and the solution to this is to fight back, victim must report this crime to police as early as possible and let the stalker know that you are not scared of him, sharing with your friends and family is also important for taking out prompt solutions and get relieved from this issue. It is required to stay strong and not to let the stalker control your life. The main problem is this, that victims keep avoiding the whole issue and don’t report or take any other action with a belief that stalker would stop himself sooner or later but it is very important to take actions at the very first stage, to avoid any scandals in future.
The Article is written by Kanishk Agarwal, ADVOCATE N FOUNDER AT CRITAX CORP.