Ex-intimate partner stalking: experiences of harassment and unwanted courtship

This research draws on the experiences of twelve women who have been stalked by an ex-intimate partner. While celebrity stalking has attracted considerable attention in the media, little sociological research has been conducted on the ways that gender inequality, patriarchy, and power influence and legitimize the crime of intimate partner stalking. Moreover, not only is there limited research on intimate partner stalking, but there is even less known about the experiences of women who have sought outside help, namely from the criminal justice system and social service agencies. This research examines the experiences of women involved in intimate partner stalking and how they managed their stalking victimization while simultaneously attempting to seek effective help. Findings from the study reveal that women encountered great difficulty. They typically attempted to manage their situations on their own but soon realized that their stalker was not going to relent. As the stalking progressed, the women became more fearful and began to see themselves as victims involved in a situation that required legal remedy. This research closely looks at how these women made sense of their experiences and how their long road to stalking cessation was laden with frustration, confusion, courage, and failure to receive effective outside help. This research not only renders women's experiences and difficulties as significant, but it also allows society to understand how to better meet the needs of many women who are involved in intimate stalking in today's society.