by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking. ~ David Coleman
What Is Stalking
The reason the David Coleman quote above resonates with me is that a woman who appeared to be stalking a man called it serendipitous when she wound up in a club a half mile from his home, where he was known to frequent, on the same night he did. She said to me, “It’s serendipity!” and I said, “No, it’s stalking.” I don’t know when the quote above was made by its source, but I had this conversation 14 years ago. Another quote that came to mind, is “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” She kept thinking that their “accidental” run-ins meant they were destined to be together. It didn’t and they weren’t. Thankfully she moved on, and no one died.
Stalkers Who Turn Into Murderers
It has long been known that female stalking victims have been killed by their stalker. Laws to protect people have been put into effect after stalking turns to murder. Rebecca Shaefer’s murder in 1989 led to stronger laws in California to hide addresses of public figures. It’s not a small thing and it’s not unusual. What is unusual is the small amount of attention paid to female stalkers as murderers and their victims. While we may pay attention to the murder trials, we have done little to educate everyone about how men can protect themselves if they have a stalking ex-girlfriend or obsessive girlfriend they can’t seem to get to go away.