25 September 2023

Stalked: The Human Target

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Rachel Cassidy, Rockpool Publishing, $29.99.

Being the target of a stalker would be unnerving for anybody. Just hearing stories about people who have been targeted makes you feel uneasy.

Stalking just doesn’t happen to the famous. Here we get details on circumstances surrounding some high profile celebrities including Madonna, Jennifer Hawkins and David Letterman.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one-in-five women and one-in-13 men have experienced stalking in their lifetime. What causes someone to want to stalk? Above all, what can you do if you’re targeted?

Cassidy shares true stories of Australians who have been pursued by stalkers and the devastating effects it’s had on their lives. Dancing with the Stars judge Mark Wilson is one, having had two dance schools burnt down by a stalker, he shares how he and his family have since rebuilt their lives.

A forensic psychologist (who works with victims, perpetrators and police) gives an analysis of each of the case studies in this book. Then there are insights from a psychologist who works with stalking victims.

As well, global experts contribute their valuable acuity, lawyers who have represented and protected the people pursued speak openly about the laws, media and the challenges in the pursuit of justice. The book also explores the psychopathology of stalkers, cyber stalking and surveys the laws that deal with stalking behaviours.

Stalked is a sensitive scrutiny of stalking from the within because it’s told by the victims, the stalkers and the experts who deal with the mayhem inflicted by people who knowingly pester others with unsolicited and fanatical attention.

It’s clear to see that Cassidy cares: she has been involved in the not-for-profit sector for more than two decades, working with various causes for the health and wellbeing of women and children.

She is the CEO of the ‘Stop Stalking Now Foundation’, a national charity in Australia, which is established to provide public awareness and support to victims who have been stalked, targeted or bullied.

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