Sociological Effects on Women

Life is already difficult for many women in America's patriarchal society, but it is made even more so when they are stalked. Victims often change their usual routines and activities as a way to prevent the stalking from continuing. In order to escape the attention of their stalker, many women are forced to change their telephone numbers, terminate their employment, break their leases, and move. All of these are added expenses that contribute to increased emotional as well as financial stress, all for the sake of simply trying to avoid someone (Baum et al., 2009).

Many women who are stalked report being harassed on the job and having their work disrupted by their stalker. This happens because, for many women, their workplace is the one area where their stalker has easy access to them; consequently, women being stalked suffer from reduced productivity, inconsistent work, inability to concentrate at work, absenteeism due to being too upset to go into work, reduced earnings, and ultimately an increased likelihood of losing their job due to the behavior of their stalker and how it affects them (Logan et al., 2007). 

Some stalkers harass the family and friends of their victims. Although this could initially bring added attention and support to their problem, the friends may eventually grow tired of the harassment and distance themselves from the victim in order to escape it. In this way, the victim's friendships and the support networks they provide are broken down by the stalker. Without that support, the victim is prone to experience even more emotional distress and anxiety (Johnson & Kercher, 2009).

With the advent of modern technological innovations, victims of stalkings are subject to numerous new ways of being stalked. Especially prevalent in the new millennium is "cyberstalking", in which stalkers use such tools as email or instant messaging to contact their victim. Listening devices or digital cameras are also used to electronically monitor victims, and even GPS (global positioning system) technology can be used to keep track of a victim. With all of these new ways to stalk, it is much harder for women to avoid the attention of their stalker (Baum et al., 2009).

Also, it can be difficult for some women to distinguish the difference between a man being infatuated with her and actually stalking her. This is especially applicable to intimate partner stalking. It becomes even more of a problem when a women decides that she is being stalked and decides to take legal action. Because there are so many varied definitions of stalking, the burden of proof is difficult for women to establish against their stalkers. Many people could dismiss the behavior of stalkers as simply the passionate actions of someone deeply in love. The intent of the stalker and the level of fear of the victim are key aspects of stalking at which law enforcement agencies look to determine whether or not someone is being stalked. Some states require that the victim experience fear of serious bodily harm or death, while others simply require that the victim experience emotional distress (Baum et al., 2009).