From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Stalking (from Middle English stalk: from Old English bestealcian; akin to Old English stelan to steal) is a legal term for repeated harassment or other forms of invasion of a person's privacy in a manner that causes fear to its target.
Statutes vary between jurisdiction but may include such acts as:
- repeated physical following;
- unwanted contact (by letter or other means of communication);
- observing a person's actions closely for an extended period of time; or
- contacting family members, friends, or associates of a target inappropriately;
According to the United States' National Center for Victims of Crime, one out of every 12 women and one out of every 45 men will be stalked during their lifetime.
Stalking in media and literature
- The Cable Guy: film starring Jim Carey and Matthew Broderick, a cable installer develops an extreme attachment to a customer; ends up stalking him, believing customer to be a perfect match (intimacy seeker)
- Fatal Attraction: film starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, man is stalked by a woman with whom he had a brief affair (rejected stalker); A scene in this film is probably the origin of bunny boiler as a synonym for stalker, even though it took over five years to become a widespread allusion.
- Les Miserables: novel by Victor Hugo, with several film adaptations and a Broadway musical; ex-convict Jean Valjean is stalked for years by an obsessed police inspector; Marius displays stalkerish tendencies towards Cosette (he is her secret admirer)
- Play Misty for Me: Clint Eastwood movie about the erotomanic stalking of a radio celebrity
- The Phantom of the Opera: book written by Gaston Leroux, Erik (the Phantom) stalks and later kidnaps the singer Christine. (Intimacy Seeker)
- Game stalker
- Poison pen letter
- Secret admirer
- Threat Management Unit