|Old stalking case gets attention|
|Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board|
|Wednesday, 19 January 2011 20:59|
Teen stalked from front yard for years
Having someone stand outside your home and stare or constantly drive by year after year is something we are made to believe only happens to the A-list celebrity or in a horror movie. For one teen in Illinois, this was an everyday occurrence.
Hannah Perryman, a junior in high school from Streamwood, Ill., has finally been able to tell the world her story. According to the Chicago Tribune, Perryman had been experiencing severe stalking since 2004 after being assaulted by her neighbor, a girl a year older than her, while at a sleepover.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Perryman, who is now 17, spent a huge portion of her teen years trapped and full of fear, unsure what her stalker may do.
What made Perryman’s situation worse was the fact that police couldn’t help since the neighbor wasn’t breaking any laws and unless the girl threatened her more than once, prosecutors couldn’t press stalking charges.
After two threats, one in October 2008 and then again in May 2009, the family was able to press charges for stalking, which is a felony, and additionally for disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor.
According to the story in the Chicago Tribune, the Perryman family agreed to the stalker’s guilty plea for the misdemeanor in order to avoid going to trial.
While this case has finally brought peace and normality back to Perryman’s daily life, victims of stalking are in no way a new phenomenon.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM), which has been growing since its beginning in 2004 in order to “increase the public’s understanding of the crime of stalking.”
So what is the definition of stalking? According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, “a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”
In that case, many individuals may not take into account that they have more than likely had situations somewhat similar, especially with the use of technology becoming a huge factor in cases of stalking.
One in four victims report being stalked through some form of technology, according to NCVC, and 3.4 million people over the age of age of 18 are stalked each year in the U.S. alone, while three in four stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. In addition to these scary statistics, persons aged 18-24 years experienced the highest rate of stalking.
These statistics are made even more real once we learn about the victims who have been dealing with it, like Perryman.
This Editorial Board believes that those who are victims of stalking, like Perryman, deserve justice through stronger laws. In many cases, since the laws haven’t been changed, the police can only be of so much help, which means that victims must seek other outlets for help.
While the Perryman family went to Illinois lawmakers to share their story in 2009, it is important that until these laws have been made stronger, other victims must do the same thing. As media attention has been raised, more work will be done in order to change these laws to better assist victims.
As cases with victims who have been stalked by an ex-partner either in person or social networking sites like Facebook, the extent to which people can stalk your everyday life is now even easier.
A stalker can log online, see where you are by your status updates and continually work to interrupt your daily routine. Students must garner the courage to stand up for their rights to privacy and seek release from the constant watchful eye of a stalker.
If you are a victim, or know someone who is dealing with a case of stalking, call 1-800-FYI-CALL or go online for more information at ncvc.org/src.