In 1993, Michigan criminalized stalking behavior in an effort to protect victims of harassment and put an end to stalking. Michigan now has one of the strongest anti-stalking laws in the nation.
Stalking is Defined as:
"...a 'willful course of conduct' involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, 'harassed' or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested."
--Michigan Penal Code MCLA 650.411 h
Stalking Takes many Forms
According to the anti-stalking laws, a person can be charged with stalking for willfully and repeatedly contacting another individual, without permission. Under these laws, assailants could be charged with stalking for repeatedly:
- Following or appearing within the sight of another.
- Approaching or confronting another individual in a public or private place.
- Appearing at the work place or residence of another.
- Entering or remaining on an individual's property.
- Contacting by telephone.
- Sending mail or electronic mail.
Who are the Victims?
Unfortunately, stalking is not a rare or unusual activity. Anyone can be a victim of stalking -- ordinary citizens or celebrities. According to the below statistics, your chance of being a victim of stalking is high, especially if you are a woman.
- One out of 20 adults will be stalked in their lifetime.
- One-third of women in domestic violence shelters are victims of stalking.
What to do if ...
Remember, you neither wanted nor deserved to be stalked. You are the victim, not the criminal. Suggestions of what to do if stalked are listed below. Every situation is different, so there are no set guidelines. Use your own judgment as to what actions to take.
- Communicate to the stalker that you do not want any contact with him/her.
- Report to your local police department that you are a victim of stalking, whether or not you plan to file formal charges.
- Build your case against the stalker by providing the police with any or all of the following:
Documentation (personal journal or diary) of the stalker's activities
Taped recording(s) of threatening telephone calls.
- Videotape of stalker's actions.
Basic identifying information (i.e., license plate number, make of car, personal appearance).
List of contacts with the stalker (i.e., date, time, place, what was said, letters/calls received).
If You are Being Stalked
Exercise your Legal Rights
Get an anti-stalking restraining order from your local circuit court. (This order states that the stalker is to have no contact with the victim; if violated, criminal penalties will follow.) This will not only protect you, but also assist the police in enforcing the anti-stalking law. It also increases the penalties should the stalker violate the restraining order.[MCLA 600.2950a]
You may also bring a civil action against your stalker. This allows you to sue him or her for any damage they have done, your emotional harm, and may entitle you to exemplary damages and legal fees as well. [MCLA 600.2954]
As a victim, your best weapon against stalkers is the police. They are a means of protection as well as a source for referrals. However, it is also important to have support from your friends and/or family during this emotionally distressing event.
For further support or information contact:
CMU Police Department, (989) 774-3081
Listening Ear, (989) 772-2918
Woman's Aid Service (24 Hour Line), (989) 772-9168
Family Violence Helpline, (800) 996-6228
Woman's Commission, (989) 373-2884
Stalking Victim Hotline, (989) 543-3775
Information for this page was taken from "A Citizen's Guide to Michigan's Anti-Stalking Laws" published by the Michigan Woman's Commission.