What is stalking? Regardless of your knowledge of criminal law, you would probably recognize when you had been assaulted, had your life threatened, or were defrauded. But how would you know that you had been the victim of stalking? What distinguishes stalking from other forms of violence enough to make it a separate entity of criminal behavior? J. Reid Meloy (1998), a psychologist and expert on stalking has observed that ‘‘stalking is an old behavior, but a new crime’’ (p. xix). Popular fictionalized accounts of stalking are certainly familiar to the public. In the 1970s, Clint Eastwood played a disc jockey stalked by an obsessed fan in Play Misty for Me. Film audiences leaped out of their seats in the 1980s as Glen Close harassed Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction. Alica Silverstone stalked Cary Elwes in the 1993 film, The Crush, and nearly 10 years later, Jesse Bradford was subjected to the unwanted attention and pursuit of Erika Christensen in Swimfan. Yet in spite of its longevity and frequent characterizations in mainstream media, there is still remarkably little agreement on what constitutes stalking

An Overview