Generally, stalking can be defined as unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or a group of individuals towards another person. The aim of stalking is to intimidate and harass. This form of intrusive behaviour can be through electronic means such as emails or text messages or physical means such a breaking into your house. We featured the sad case of the lady who was stalked by a man she met in the story The Stranger Turned Stalker Who Terrorized Me.
While Kenyan law does not have a definition for the term stalker or specific laws against stalking yet, there are several laws that you can refer to that can protect you and allow to seek legal reprieve when faced with a situation in which you feel that you are being stalked.
The Communications Act defines an offensive message as one that is indecent or menacing in character and is meant to cause needless anxiety, annoyance or inconvenience.
The Penal Code, section 238(2) makes it criminal for anyone to intimidate another person and is liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years. It defines intimidation as an act that is intended to cause alarm or to cause the person to commit an act that they are legally not bound to do or to cause them to omit to do any act that they are legally entitled to do. Intimidation also means to cause or threaten to cause unlawful injury to a person.
The Protection Against Domestic Violence Act defines harassment as engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces in the applicant the fear of imminent harm. It may include loitering outside the applicant’s place of work or residence, repeated contact or attempts to contact the applicant through electronic means or post and sending abusive documents to the applicant.
The Trespass Act defines a trespasser as a person who enters into a property in legal possession or occupation of another with the intent to intimidate, annoy or insult.
If you suspect that you have a stalker on your hands, these are some helpful things that you can do to help you deal with the situation.
- Inform a close friend or relative of your suspicions. Forming a support network and having someone to talk to greatly helps.
- You can block or blacklist the person. This prevents any calls or text messages from coming to your phone.
- If they continue to be incessant with their calls or texts, or they threaten to cause physical harm, you can report them to the school administration if you’re in campus or to a relevant authority if it’s at the workplace. Court should be the last resort.
- If the person is showing up where you live, you can go elsewhere, if possible, until you can guarantee your safety once again by either filing for a restraining order or getting police protection.
- If you decide to take legal action, then print out records of all the phone calls, text messages and posts on social media that are offensive to you and report the matter to the police. It will build up the stack of evidence and show whether or not action was taken when you made the report.
- Approach a lawyer with a set of these facts and they will examine the evidence and take into consideration your relationship with the stalker and build a case based on the laws that they may have broken.
- If your evidence is strong, the stalker may get jail time, or can be issued with a restraining order or a fine depending on the court ruling.
Featured image via lifescript.com.