Stalking can be very difficult to prove when the stalker engages in clandestine methods to avoid detection, civil liability, and even criminal prosecution. Ferbrache Law has the experience and understanding of how serious stalking can be, and the importance for the victim in obtaining a civil stalking injunction.
Stalking comes in many forms and it may not always be apparent to the casual observer. In Utah, stalking is defined as “intentionally or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knows or should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person (a) to fear for the persons own safety or the safety of a third person; or (b) to suffer other emotional distress.” U.C.A. 76-5-106.5. This can be accomplished in any number of unique and covert methods employed by the stalker
To demonstrate stalking, the victim must establish that the stalker’s conduct would cause emotional distress to a reasonable person in the [victim]’s circumstance. The Court will also consider the context surrounding defendant’s conduct that may include acts that seem perfectly innocent or even well intentioned. Utah Courts have included factors such as victim’s background, the victim’s knowledge of and relationship with the defendant, any history of abuse between the parties, the location of the alleged stalking and its proximity to the victim’s children, if any, and the cumulative effect of the defendant’s repetitive conduct.
The stalkers conduct can also include emotional abuse if the stalker’s conduct causes a reasonable person to experience emotional distress and fear for the safety of themselves and others. “Even if relationships never get physically abusive, emotional abuse can escalate over time with devastating consequences, even death.” What Emotional Abuse Really Means, by Emily DeSanctis, One Love Foundation. Examples of emotional abuse are: intimidation, manipulation, blaming, shaming, sabotage, and forced isolation.
Moreover, “[e]motional abuse is rarely a single event. Instead, it occurs over time as a pattern of behavior that’s “sustained” and “repetitive”. The particular characteristic of emotional abuse helps explain why it’s so complicated and so dangerous.”
“Regardless of how emotional abuse unfolds, experts agree that it has devastating effects on those who are subjected to it. Unfortunately, these effects as well as each harmful act of abuse are largely invisible. This makes it difficult for most people to comprehend the very real risks and damage of emotional abuse.”
“While describing physical wounds is pretty straightforward, it’s much harder to articulate emotional trauma. The parts of a person that sustained emotional abuse destroys- identity, dignity, and self-worth- are abstract, almost impossible to picture or measure.”
“Emotional abuse, like any other form of cruelty, thrives in the darkness when no one understands, discusses, or recognizes it.”
Even when the stalker has not directly threatened victim with words such as “I will kill you”, or “I will ruin you financially” or “I will not stop until your dead, sustained and repetitive course of conduct toward the victim, her immediate family, and those around her, the stalker’s disregard for continuing his conduct in a clandestine manner are significant factors of lethality. Domestic Violence Lethality Factors, PCADV, www.pcadv.org.
Lethality factors can include a recent separation. “More than half of the victims of domestic violence homicides were estranged from their abuser or planning to leave the relationship at the time they were murdered”. Id. Another lethality factor is controlling a victim’s daily activities, even through consuming the victim with texts, emails, and phone calls on a daily basis wherein the victim is not able to hide from her stalker in spite of his proximity can equate to stalking. “When the partner controls the victim’s daily activities, homicide is five times more likely.”
“95 percent of attempted homicide victims believed the reason to kill them was ‘to punish me’.”
Many times, the victim has no way of knowing the lethality of the stalker and what he may be capable of should the victim not submit to the stalker’s desire, which contributes to elevated fear. “Perpetrator unemployment combined with a history of domestic violence can be a significant risk factor for murder-suicide in intimate partner domestic violence cases.”
Most importantly, “[s]talking is highly prevalent in cases of actual or attempted female homicide. Women who reported that an intimate partner followed or spied on them were more than twice as likely to be attempted or actual homicide victims.” If you or someone you love is being stalked, call an experienced attorney today.