Identifying Barriers to Intimate Partner Stalking Acknowledgment and Reporting
MetadataShow full metadata
Stalking is a widespread social problem that impacts the lives of an estimated 3.3 million people in the United States each year (Catalano 2012). Many victims of stalking might not consider the actions against them to be illegal, especially if they are being stalked by an ex or current intimate partner. There are various factors that create barriers for victims to acknowledge patterns of stalking behavior, including gendered relationship ideals which normalize and even romanticize certain stalking behaviors. The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, I analyze how demographic variables, gendered stalking behaviors, and victim-perpetrator relational factors affect whether someone identifies as being a victim of stalking. The second goal of this study is to take the same variables and analyze how they influence a victim's decision to seek the help of law enforcement. Data were drawn from the Supplemental Victimization Survey, gathered in conjunction with the 2006 National Crime Victimization Survey. Five chi-square analyses established distinct associations between key study variables, while 4 binomial logistic regression analyses work to answer the research questions. Results indicate that stalking acknowledgment can be predicted by various factors including the sex of victim, a victim being controlled though stalking, violent threats with weapons, victimization through email, and victim-perpetrator relationship. Results also indicate that a stalking victim reporting to law enforcement can be predicted by stalking acknowledgment, sex of victim, violent threats, and whether or not a victim and perpetrator have ever cohabitated. I conclude with policy implications and directions for future research.