Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!
Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.
Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!
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My ex-boyfriend keeps calling me and stalking me. It’s starting to really scare me. What can I do?
First thing you should know, you’re not alone and there are ways to get help. Being stalked by former husbands and boyfriends account for 80 percent of all stalking cases.
California was the first state to institute anti-stalking laws after the stalking and murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer, star of the television series “My Sister Sam,” by a crazed fan who had staked out her home. Though there have been many high-profile cases of celebrities being stalked by strangers, the majority of stalking victims are ordinary people who are being pursued by someone with whom they’ve had a prior relationship.
Today, there are laws in every state that protect us from stalking. In 1996, Congress passed the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act, making it a federal offense to cross state lines “with the intent to injure or harass another person … or place that person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm.” But even with that law in place, more than half a million women are stalked each year.
Now, you have several options depending on what you feel comfortable engaging in. In order to prosecute someone on charges of stalking, most states require some proof that the perpetrator willfully, maliciously and repeatedly followed or harassed another person. Prior to the enactment of anti-stalking laws, police had no means of intervening until after violence had occurred. Today, police are empowered to make arrests based on a pattern of harassment and, depending on the state and circumstances, can charge either a misdemeanor or a felony. In some states, you can also bring a civil lawsuit against the stalker and recover monetary damages.
Bottom Line — Your No. 1 priority is staying safe. Calling the authorities and your family to make them aware of the situation is a good first step. You should also travel with friends and try not to walk alone. Changing your phone number is another form of protection. Know your local, state and national resources. There are many tools out there to help you. You’re not alone.
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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.