Stalking can occur in a number of different ways. For one, people can be stalked on their way to work or on their way home. A person might follow them in the car to see where they are going or track their motions. Stalking can also happen around the home. A person can lurk, watching one’s actions through windows and the like. There is also cyber-stalking, where a person stalks one’s activity online in order to gain clues about a person’s habits or patterns. Stalking can happen with someone a person knows, including a former lover, or by a stranger who takes an interest.
If a person suspects that they have been stalked, then there are lots of things that he or she should do. The first thing is to tell someone. Another thing is to ensure that one does not walk in dark and dangerous places alone. Likewise, it might make sense to change one’s phone number and change any passwords online. Finally, one should be careful to lock all doors and shut all windows. If the stalking becomes scary, it is always best to contact police. There should be a “safe better than sorry” approach to stalking.
While it is dangerous to consider the criminal justice system a monolith because different places are better at handling sexual assault than other places, there are general challenges faced by victims. For one, victims often face pressure from the local community, especially when the would-be assailant is a person who has a good reputation (Patterson & Campbell, 2010). In addition, many police departments do not have females to speak to rape victims. This means that those victims have to speak to male investigators, even if they are not comfortable doing so. In some cases, the system puts those victims on trial, as their sexual history becomes a part of the story. There are rape shield laws that protect victims, but these are not particularly strong (Graham, 2012).