U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation on February 2, 2017 to strengthen federal anti-stalking laws and no one is talking about it.
According to Congress.gov, H.R.866 is a bill:
“To amend title 18, United States Code, to extend the coverage of the Federal prohibition against stalking in order to provide protection to friends and co-workers, and for other purposes.”
Information gathered from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia lists the following among the actions that can increase a stalking victim’s personal safety:
“Tell trusted relatives, friends, a landlord and neighbors about the situation.
Provide family, friends, neighbors and your employer with a photo or description of the stalker and the car he or she drives.
Advise your employer and co-workers of the problem and provide a picture of the stalker if available. If the stalker shows up at work, have someone contact the police, and avoid any personal contact.”
Notice that each of these three actions involve people other than the stalker and the victim. These people also need the full protection of the law.
Efforts to strengthen federal anti-stalking laws have historically met with opposition from right wing Republicans. For example, in 2012 and 2013, right-wingers opposed extending protections to same-sex couples.
Given Republican control of the House and the Senate, and given the so-called President is a Republican misogynist, I am not holding my breath that a strengthened anti-stalking law will see the light of day.
If you or someone you know is being stalked, contact your local authorities and review the U.S. Attorney’s office website for a number of resources.
Here is a stalking awareness video from the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime and the U.S. Department of Justice Office:
Featured image via YouTube screengrab.