An obsessed fan is following Kim Kardashian, model and reality TV star. Dennis Shaun Bowman continues to stalk the famous starlet despite a restraining order she filed that doesn’t expire until 2013. Earlier this year, Bowman moved from Georgia to California to get closer to his prey, causing Kardashian’s lawyer to file the restraining order in February.
It seemed to work–nothing was heard from Bowman for the next several months. Then, just as everything settled down, Bowman popped up again as one of the star’s followers on social micro-blogging site Twitter. Bowman’s been leaving messages on the service for both Kim, and her sister Khloe. Kardashian’s attorney filed a complaint with police, claiming that the restraining order was being violated.
Although following someone on Twitter or Facebook is seemingly innocuous, stalking in the social media age is being viewed seriously by both the public, and agencies that attempt to protect citizens from predators. All to often, what seemingly is starts as a harmless obsession ends with deadly results. Stalkers convince themselves that there’s a real “relationship” present between their themselves, and the person who’s become the “object” of their obsession: For the stalker, their objective is to make the perceived relationship reality.
Whether stalking is in cyberspace or reality, stalkers–statistically men stalking women–become focused on another person. The perceived availability of the victim’s status– marital, social, and family life–doesn’t register with the stalker: their perception is that a relationship exists, no matter the circumstances.
In these situations, it’s important to not only take the matter seriously, but to understand the law, and your rights. The first step is to file a complaint with local law enforcement and document everything; phone calls, email messages, contact via social networks, in-person confrontations, and etc. Sending a letter from an attorney to the person who’s causing turmoil in your life–declaring your desire for them to cease their activity–may also serve to thwart contact. Additionally, the law recognizes sealed and signed-for letters as declarations admissible in court as evidence to refute any claims stalkers may make that validates their relationship with you. Be wary of daily habits to ensure your safety, and that of your loved ones. While the law recognizes stalking and its inherent danger, much of the evidence comes down to “he said, she said” testimony.
If you don’t feel that law enforcement or the legal system is providing you with the outcome you desire, hire a private detective agency to investigate and document the matter. Reputable firms, such as MSI Detective Services, offer free consultation and also provide a number of methods to institute background checks and criminal investigations that will strengthen your case for law enforcement and legal services. Often, undercover investigators are used to keep tabs on the stalker.
Stalking is a serious crime; in February 2010, a Florida newlywed was murdered a week following a petition for a restraining/protection order against a man who’d been stalking her for two years. Although she presented over 70 pages of harassing email evidence, the court ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence that met the legal definition of stalking required to issue the order.