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People and Politics Forum 14. 04. 2008

"Can stalkers be stopped?"

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When Love Turns To Madness -- Can Stalkers Be Stopped?

As many as half a million Germans are thought to have fallen victim to stalkers. Most of them are women who are being hounded by former partners, but some are stalked by mere acquaintances. A year ago the German government passed a special law to protect the victims, but the results have been sobering. The legislation has done little to help stalking victims. According to victims' rights organisations, the law is a paper tiger which has little effect in the real world.

Our Question is:

"Can stalkers be stopped?"

Friedrich Fortmüller, in Argentina, points out:

"The question should be re-phrased as: Should the law stop stalkers? Because it most likely hinges on the powers given to police and security officials, and...stalkers should, surely, not just be stopped but also punished."

Rolf G., in Germany, notes:

"The highest human values are a person's life and personality and they should be protected as well as possible. But in our society, I'm afraid, property tops the scale of values. If one compares the way capital is safeguarded to the way human life is protected, then it becomes evident that human life is held in low esteem."

Gerhard Seeger, in the Philippines, says:

"Of course it should be outlawed. But it won't help because we are dealing with people who are mad and who are not impressed by bans. So it should be possible to clamp down restriction orders on stalkers to make them stay away from their victims, as practised in some countries. If they violate the ordered distance this is then punishable by law. It's not sufficient, but it's a start."

Werner Horbaty, in Nicaragua, is outspoken:

"There's been a law in Germany for the past year, and there are probably laws in other countries as well. So, get rid ot them and stick them behind bars!"

Martin Burmeister, Venezuela, says:

"Proven stalkers who harrass people should be stalked exactly the same way by the police so they get a taste of what it's like to be stalked."

Herbert Fuchs, Finland:

"Well I think stalkers are very sick people suffering under a compulsion neurosis who hide the terrible, sick fantasy world they live in from the rest of us. If a victim feels threatened, a police officer equipped with a camera should be put on daily patrol and prove that it is serious. And if the stalker doesn't stop he should be confined in a closed institution. It wouldn't be a bad idea if local papers published photos of repeat offenders. There are ways to stop stalking."

Stephan Pabel, Brazil, believes:

"Eyeryone has the right to do as he wishes: to stand and walk wherever he wants and to look at whatever he or she wishes. But if this leads to harrassment, even forcing your will on somebody and terrorising that person to the point of sickness, then simply stopping it isn't enough: it has to be punished if possible...The mental violence used by stalkers leaves behind mental injuries, and has nothing to do with the freedom of the individual."

Erwin Scholz, Costa Rica, waxes poetical:

"Dark shadows like are stalkers,

frenzied, insane city walkers.

Neighbours, not laws, must be at hand

To set things right and stop the mad!"

Dianne Bates, in Australia, writes:

"Yes, l think that stalkers can be stopped. If the police have more harsh powers and if stalkers go to jail for their crime. The government must have very tough laws to stop them, as it is horrible for the victims living in such fear for their safely."

Helge Weyland, Argentina, is adamant:

"Various friends, male and female, have told me that a good beating is the best, most helpful medicine. It's something these people never forget."

Christiane Ullmann, Canada, notes:

"The victims, usually women, must do their bit as well and write down everything that happens: the wheres and the whens, car registration numbers, type of clothing etc. Telephone protection is vital and remembering never to lose courage, otherwise the stalker will succeed. Always stay on top of the situation, no matter how hard."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.