Am I A Stalker?
Everyone is a mere two-unwanted phone calls or text messages, having no legitimate purpose, from being arrested for harassment.
“I Am A Stalker”, is a docuseries streaming on Netflix these days that takes a look at stalking from the points of view of victims, predators, family members of both, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and law enforcement. While replete with valuable information regarding the psychology involved from all points of view of stalking, it is still pretty disturbing. But undeniably worth the time spent.
Some of the lessons seem simple. For example, stalking escalates. It takes on a life of its own. In one episode an incarcerated stalker tells us that he prayed to God to stop him as he sat in his car outside the victim’s house. God did not stop him. 40% of stalking cases escalate to physical violence.
Another lesson: victims (or their family, friends, and people generally in their lives) are hesitant to take the necessary step of getting law enforcement involved before escalation consumes the predator. For different reasons: they don’t want to ruin anyone’s lives (allowing the escalation process to go unchecked will guarantee to ruin the predator’s lives); fear of increased aggression (that’s happening anyway); believing that an order of protection is just a piece of paper that will not protect them (wrong: an order of protection will empower law enforcement to provide meaningful protection. And if the predator lives in the household, they will be forced to find somewhere else to live).
Stalkers, we learn, have issues with detachment. Rather than be apart from their victim, it is better, in their minds, for their victim to no longer exist. Some of the victims that survive, we observe, have been reduced to living subhuman lives.
The answer, in many cases, is early intervention and treatment, before the pathology turns into a freight train.
ATTORNEY: Have a seat. What were you charged with?
CLIENT: Harassing my girlfriend.
ATTORNEY: How long was this person your girlfriend?
CLIENT: Like two years.
ATTORNEY: Did this person know that they were your girlfriend?
CLIENT: She had to, you know?
The attorney agreed to defend this client under the following condition: that they voluntarily enroll in a treatment program that day, and that they are completely honest with the mental health care provider. The clients sometimes resist because they think it will “look bad” to the judge. False. It looks good to the judge and the prosecutor as well. They see that acceptance has taken place early and being under treatment and having someone to speak to about their problem (probably for the first time ever) greatly reduces the likelihood of escalation.
Whether or not this type of crime has ever touched your life, the Netflix series elegantly educates the viewer on the subject of stalking from every aspect. And many will be compelled to consider where they stand in the continuum and answer the question honestly: Am I A Stalker?
Click HERE to read the previous Law Continuum by Partner Joseph D. Nohavicka
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Joseph D. Nohavicka
With over 30 years of experience in the law, Joseph D. Nohavicka (Joe) is fully qualified to take on any kind of case at any given moment. Joe’s practice focuses on employment, commercial, insurance, ethics, criminal, and general appellate trial, and pre-trial litigation.
Joe is acknowledged in the profession for his performance in the courtroom, but he is also a prolific legal commentator with multiple publications in the prestigious New York Law Journal and the New York State Bar Journal.