May 12, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Women’s survey says half of us have been stalked

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Colin WilsonwebYes that’s what a survey from the Young Business and Professional Women’s Club show. They have found that one out of every two people in Cayman has been stalked at some point in their life.

Whilst I believe the findings and conclusions reached from that survey are ludicrous it never-the-less indicates stalking is a serious issue.

So much so, The Law Reform Commission has launched a public consultation on two new Bills: The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2014 and a Stalking (Civil Jurisdiction) Bill, 2014.

See iNews Cayman story published February 2 2014 “Stalking consultation bill drafted” at:

The story notes: “The categories of stalkers contemplated by the legislation include the rejected stalker, predatory stalkers, debt collectors, erotomanics, love obsessed stalkers, sociopathic stalkers, stalkers with false victimisation syndromes, disgruntled clients or employees of private or public organisations and cyberstalkers.

“Ultimately, the objective of the legislation is to reinforce that actions which constitute stalking may cause psychiatric and psychological harm and may result in serious danger to the person affected.  It is therefore in the best interests of our society to take immediate and effective action when cases of stalking arise.”

In the USA there was a National Stalking Awareness Month last January.

On their website they say “6.6 million adults are stalked in the United States in one year”.

The approx. population of adults (over18) today living in the USA is 250 million.

This means it is safer to live there than here, in the beautiful Cayman Islands, if you want to remain free from stalkers! That’s only 2.64% of the adult population.

Women are the main targets of stalkers so that % would automatically double plus a few points as there are 93.75% less men in the USA.

When looking at The Law Reform Commission’s proposals one area of major concern is providing stalking victims better access to support services to help them cope with any resulting mental health issues.

On the Health US News website under the headline “Stalking Can Take Mental Toll on Victims, Study Confirms” (see it says “Women who are the victims of stalkers are up to three times more likely than their peers to experience psychological distress”.

The article points to a study published in Social Science Quarterly that found nearly 8 percent of the women said they were stalked by the age of 45.

It goes on to say:

“Women aged 18 to 22 who were stalked but not sexually assaulted had an estimated 113 percent greater chance of experiencing psychological distress than other women their own age who were not stalked, the findings revealed.

“However, the psychological effects were even more profound for women who were stalked when they were older, the researchers found. Women who were between 23 and 29 years of age when they were first stalked were 265 percent (nearly three times) more likely to have mental health problems.

“For women aged 30 to 45, the study found a 138 percent greater chance of psychological distress among victims compared with their peers who were not victimized in this way.

“The researchers suggested that younger women and teens who are stalked may not be as frightened by this type of behavior, such as unwanted attention at school. As a result, it might not significantly affect their emotional health. Once young women reach adulthood, however, their anxiety level increases as the physical strength and sexual urges of their stalkers increase with age. Women who are working or have family responsibilities are also more vulnerable to the psychological consequences of stalking, the study authors noted in the news release.

“Although the effects of stalking are commonly viewed as less significant than the negative effects of a physical assault, the researchers found they actually come close.

‘”The large negative effect on the mental health of victims was actually surprising to me,” noted [Timothy] Diette, [assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee]. “In many cases where you have a gut reaction that of course there should be an effect, you may find that, after controlling for various elements, those effects are actually smaller than you had expected. That is not the case in this study,” he pointed out.

‘”In the age range 23 to 29, for example, the effects of stalking starts to approach the same level of negative psychological impact on the victim as sexual trauma,” Diette explained. “My understanding is that stalking is not viewed nearly as seriously by the general public as sexual assault.”

“Willful or malicious stalking is a criminal offense in the United States, the study authors noted. This behavior can include frequent unwelcome phone calls, emails, letters, lurking or lingering nearby, and following someone. Over the course of the past 20 years, stalking has become a more pressing public issue, affecting 12 percent of women and 4 percent of men at some point in their lives, according to background information in the news release.”

The interesting statistic I found was that men get stalked too – 4%. It doesn’t say whether it was men stalking men or women doing the stalking.

Please read The Law Reform Commission’s proposed two bills relating to stalking.

Stalking is very serious and they want your input. Please press home the need for better access to counseling due to the psychological distress stalking causes.

I hope the Women’s survey is incorrect that half of us have been stalked! Even if the figure drops down to 8% it is still a major problem.

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