Myth: Stalking is harmless

People often make jokes about stalking and stalking behaviours. It is normalized and even seen as a sign of true love in movies and TV shows. In reality, stalking is a very serious and threatening crime.

People who have experienced stalking may feel unsafe, threatened, and violated. Stalking affects their daily lives and often that of their family and friends. Victims of stalking may have to take drastic action to end the behaviours: moving, changing schools or jobs, and/or changing phone numbers and emails. Stalking behaviours are not trivial; often the behaviours continue for a long time and can escalate in frequency, violence, and intrusiveness.

Some of the individual gestures used by stalkers may not seem intimidating, or may look innocent to outsiders (for example, incessant text messages or unwanted ‘gifts’) but it is the intensity and pattern of these behaviours that make them intrusive.

Buying into the myth that stalking is harmless, an expression of love, or that the victim is attention-seeking minimizes a person’s experience and trivializes a chilling crime. This may prevent the victim from seeking help and support. This myth also excuses the stalker and conveys that their malicious behaviours are normal.