Stalking and harassment are serious offenses that can have devastating effects on victims. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding these crimes that can make it difficult for victims to get the help they need. In this blog post, we will explore some common myths and misconceptions about stalking and harassment in New York state.
Myth #1: Stalking and harassment are not serious crimes.
Fact: Stalking and harassment are serious crimes that can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences for victims. In New York state, stalking is a criminal offense that can result in a class A misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the behavior. Harassment is also a criminal offense that can result in a violation, a misdemeanor, or a felony, depending on the severity of the behavior.
Myth #2: Only strangers can be stalkers.
Fact: Stalkers can be anyone, including family members, friends, acquaintances, or even former partners. In fact, most victims of stalking know their stalker. Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior that causes a victim to feel fear or distress, and it can include unwanted contact, following, monitoring, or threats.
Myth #3: Victims of harassment just need to toughen up.
Fact: Harassment can take many forms, including verbal abuse, physical assault, and online harassment. It can cause significant emotional distress and have long-term effects on a victim’s mental health. Victims of harassment deserve to be taken seriously and should not be told to toughen up or ignore the behavior.
Myth #4: Victims of stalking and harassment are responsible for their own safety.
Fact: It is the responsibility of the offender to stop the behavior, not the victim. Victims of stalking and harassment should not be blamed for the actions of their stalker or harasser. Instead, they should be supported and encouraged to seek help from law enforcement, legal professionals, and victim advocates.
Myth #5: Restraining orders are always effective in stopping stalking and harassment.
Fact: Restraining orders, also known as orders of protection, can be an important tool for victims of stalking and harassment to protect themselves from their abusers. However, they are not always effective in stopping the behavior. Victims should always take additional steps to ensure their safety, such as changing their phone number, installing security cameras, and notifying law enforcement of any violations of the restraining order.
Stalking and harassment are serious crimes that can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences for victims. It’s important to dispel common myths and misconceptions surrounding these crimes to ensure that victims receive the help and support they need. Victims of stalking and harassment should be taken seriously and provided with resources and support to protect themselves from their abusers. If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking or harassment in New York state, seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights.