#AskMargie: Stalking

Dr. Margie Holmes shares different views on stalking and aims to understand why people do it.

MANILA, Philippines – What is stalking?

In this first edition of a three-part series on stalking, Dr. Margie Holmes shares different views on stalking and aims to understand why people do it. 


Script below: 

For the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about a popular topic among you, our viewers: stalking.

For today’s episode, we’ll focus on what constitutes stalking and I am so, so proud of you for being the first ones to define stalking accurately:

Santy Floralde says: Dictionary defines a stalker as someone who “stealthily hunts or pursues another” and/or “harasses someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.” So if a person doesn’t fit this definition, he or she is just a Facebook friend.

Carlos Gonzales: If you were socializing in real life with a person you know, nobody would say you’re stalking him. I’m sure all of us have viewers to our profiles 24/7 whom we’ll never know. We all get curious about other people.

Tanya Garcia says: Some employers check Facebook accounts of applicants. I don’t think this is stalking. At one point, we became stalkers of our exes. But most of us have the discipline and control to stop.

@vbarreiro asks: What exactly constitutes stalking versus cautiously doing a background check on someone who talks to you?

TO which one might say: The first is creepy and you’re not in control; and the second is smart you’re in control, and want to stay that way over your own life.

@dizzy_tokyo says: We tend to peek at the profiles of people we like or hate just to know what they’re up to.

@KitN says: Yes, voyeurs at the least. But everyone is also an exhibitionist.

Ging Berdon says: I think in some perverse way we want to be “stalked”. It gives us some sense of importance.

Steve Rogers poses an interesting question: What’s the difference between courtship and stalking?

Sherilyn Sy: Respect.
Ces Millado: Motive.

Yomi Artemus: Courtship deals with respect and perseverance and you don’t have to hide from the person you want to know. Stalking deals with hidden desire.

Bert Quibuyen: Courtship is harmless pursuit, stalking is harmful pursuit.

Mackoy Villaroman: It’s normal to pursue a person who makes your heart sing. It’s normal especially if you are really infatuated with the person. But there are certain parameters and ground rules one has to follow (to not) be labeled a psycho. Be normal, polite and respectful.

Angelina Sparks Kanapi: There have been disgruntled busted men who used to “court” me. I’d receive letters that eventually become obsessive, or they’d be waiting outside my school, or show up peering into the window of our living room. But at some point it ends. Stalking begins when courtship is cut off, and then “in love” turns to “I will HAVE you.” And the “object” ceases to matter. It’s all about the intent.

Steve Rogers: At a certain point the line gets blurred. It’s in the eye of the object: there are identical patterns of pursuit that are considered courtship if they are welcome and stalking if they are not.

Angelina Sparks Kanapi: Because society trained us here not to be direct, all these games have to be played. And that’s how we get blurred lines.

Alfie Mella: That’s one aspect of Filipino culture in general that I don’t admire–when hypocrisy and courtesy are interchanged or mixed with each other.

“No means no” and that should be it–straightforward, assertive, and honest. Dapat pag ayaw e sabihin nang malinaw at maayos–sorry pero di puwede e. Sa kabilang panig naman–pag ayaw e di dapat pilitin.

Angelina Sparks Kanapi: A primal thing, really. When courting, you choose the person who would fit your ideals the most. Stalking is hunting – you might as well think of deer. But the point is – primal. You “hunt.”

Johnrev Guilaran: When stalking gets in the way of normal functioning, it becomes maladaptive, like in the case of people with erotomanic delusions who stalk their artista crushes. Some people stalk because they lack the social skills to create real relationships with other people.

Alfie Mella: An important element of ‘stalking’ is obsessiveness of one expressing the attention plus the feelings of discomfort on the object of attention. So if the person of attention likes the person expressing the attention, this isn’t stalking because there’s no element of unwanted attention.

Angelina Sparks follows it up: If you liked the dude or the chick following you around, would you call them stalkers?

WRAP UP: Very good point, Angelina. Because stalking depends on the stalkee, the person being stalked. BUT having said that, we have to remember to distinguish between real stalkees and supposed stalkees who actually have no basis to accuse the supposed stalker of stalking. We’re talking about a “stalkee” who’s frightened even if there are no objective indices that she should be i.e. paranoid.
Finally, you’ve probably noticed that all your responses have, happily, not been on the uber scary killing, killing,…but even if not physically scary, it can be emotionally scary and thus, should stop…and asking/begging for it to stop isn’t enough,…that is like a mendicant begging for alms, There still isn’t a law on stalking and perhaps it’s time we thought about it.

That’s it for today.
Next week we’ll talk about being stalked; that is, being the stalkee.


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