January is National Stalking Awareness Month, at least according to organs of the United States government.
The Office on Violence Against Women joined with President Obama to announce National Stalking Awareness Month or NSAM, reports the United States Department of Justice. Since most people have no direct experience with stalking, it is described for us by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics as, "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear for his or her safety or the safety of someone close such as a family member."
President Obama’s proclamation on behalf of NSAM came out just before New Year’s. It offered a more in-depth statement on preventing stalking: “Stalkers inspire fear through intimidation, explicit or implied threats, and nonconsensual communication often by telephone, text message, or email that can cause severe emotional and physical distress. Many victims suffer anxiety attacks, feelings of anger or helplessness, and depression. Fearing for their safety, some are forced to relocate or change jobs to protect themselves.”
While a criminal investigation launched by the police may be the best way to prevent stalking or stop it, some other creative means of challenging a stalker, particularly one that you may know in person, is to pursue a civil remedy through a personal injury attorney.
If a stalker is a cyberstalker or sending emails containing false and harmful statements about you to people or saying things about you in public, it may be possible to sue him or her in a personal capacity for committing the tort of defamation.
If you think that you have been the victim of some defamatory statement, whether slander or libel, then you will need to file a lawsuit in order to recover. Generally speaking, in order to win your lawsuit, you must show that: someone made a statement that was published, which caused you injury, which was false, and which did not fall into a privileged category (like if it was uttered during a trial).
It is often hard for public figures to prove defamation, but a bit easier for private individuals to do so. To learn whether you may have a claim of defamation against a stalker, you may wish to speak to an attorney.