Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): A shocking report has revealed that 1 out of 100 Americans is being stalked.
An estimated 3.4 million Americans identified themselves as victims of stalking during a one-year span, according to federal crime experts.
About half of the victims experienced at least one unwanted contact per week from a stalker, and 11 percent had been stalked for five or more years, according to the report by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. It covered a 12-month period in 2005-06.
The study revealed that the most commonly reported types of stalking were unwanted phone calls (66 percent), unsolicited letters or e-mail (31 percent), or having rumors spread about the victim (36 percent), while more than one-third of the victims reported being followed or spied upon; some said they were tracked by electronic monitoring, listening devices or video cameras.
"The prevalence of cell phones and e-mails and GPS devices - this doesn't create more stalkers than used to exist, but it gives the stalker another tool in their toolkit," CBS News quoted Cindy Dyer, director of the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, as telling CBS correspondent Hughes.
However, nearly 75 percent of victims knew their stalker in some capacity, like most stalkers were a former spouse or an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
Women were far more likely than men to be stalking victims, and people who were divorced or separated were more vulnerable than other marital categories. People aged 18-24 were more likely to be stalked than older people.
Victims reported suffering a range of emotions because of the stalking. The most common fears included not knowing what would happen next (46 percent) and fearing the stalking would continue indefinitely (29 percent). Nine percent of the victims said their worst fear was death.
"All your freedom is taken away. All of a sudden going for a run or coming home by yourself - all those things began to be panic," one stalking victim, who was afraid to be identified, told Hughes. (ANI)