Stalking vs Harassment
What is the difference between Stalking and Harassment? Before finding the difference between the two terms, let us look at their meanings. Though both terms seem to give similar meanings, they have their individual meanings. The term Harassment envelops various offensive behaviors of an individual or a group of people towards another person or a group of people. Harassment can be either verbal or physical or could be both. The term Stalking also suggests of being a nuisance towards somebody and in this case also there can be harassing or threatening. In both of these, we see that the receiver is affected badly and most of the times harassment and stalking are illegal. Let us analyse them in more detail.
What is Harassment?
Harassing explains a situation where a victim is affected mentally or physically due to an unwanted disturbance or behavior. This offensive behavior can be repetitive and sometimes it persists for a long time. It is said that harassing is intentional and the doer may get pleasure or feels happy after the harassment. Harassing brings discomfort to the victim. Also, in some cases, the harassments are not reported due to social and cultural issues. Mostly, the sexual harassment, that is having sex forcefully without having the consent of one party are not reported or found out. Usually, this happens in workplaces where the victim is unable to tell the truth in fear of losing a job. Sexual harassment is not just physical behaviors, but it could be verbal, gestures or any other actions. Further, there are several types of harassments that can be identified in almost all the societies. Workplace harassments, mobile harassments, online harassments, racial or religious harassments, psychological harassments and there is a lot more. The reasons for harassing could be psychological or a mental disorder. In most countries, harassments are illegal and there are laws against any harassment.
What is Stalking?
Stalking also means a situation where the affected party suffers mentally or physically due to an unwanted action or a series of actions. Stalking is a kind of obsession of an individual or a group of people towards another individual. Here, the doer may always follow, find information or monitor the victim continuously. This observation and monitoring could be unknown sometimes, but if the affected party finds it threatening or scary, the stalker could be taken to the courts as well. It is said that the laws related to stalking are stricter. In the first stage, stalking can be legal. For example, a person may follow another person just to find some information but if the first person begins to act annoyingly towards the other person, it may be illegal. A person can send an SMS to somebody who is unknown just for fun. However, if h/she continues to send messages over and over and if it becomes a threat to the receiver, it is stalking.
What is the difference between Stalking and Harassment?
If you take both situations, there are some similarities in these two as well. In both cases, the doer may have a psychological or mental disorder and the actions are intentional. The victim suffers due to these and sometimes these cases are not reported to the authorities. Both these are illegal and there are strict rules against them. If you look at the differences,
• Harassment is mostly physical in many contexts but stalking is not so.
• Further, harassment could be one particular action but stalking could be either one action or it could be a series of actions.
• Moreover, the victim of harassment could either be an individual or a group of people. However, in stalking, only one individual is affected.
All in all, we can see that there are similarities as well as differences with regard to stalking and harassment.