Stalking is repeated harassment or threatening behavior toward another person. Stalking behaviors also may include persistent patterns of leaving or sending the victim unwanted items or presents, from the seemingly romantic to the bizarre, following or laying in wait for the victim, damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property, defaming the victim's character, or harassing the victim via the Internet by posting personal information or spreading rumors. Like domestic violence, stalking is a crime of power and control. According to results from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 6 women (16.2 percent) and 1 in 19 men (5.2 percent) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
Stalking is a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government. Laws vary by state, but stalking is generally defined as repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, and/or implied threats, that would cause a reasonable person fear. (Tjaden and Thoennes,1998). The definitions under Rhode Island law can be found in the RI Statutes.