Although Wisconsin has a strong anti-stalking law advocates says federal legislation will pick up where state laws fall short. Tony Gibart, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence Policy Coordinator, says it’s important to have a strong federal system in place as technology allow perpetrators to victimize across state lines.
The bi-partisan STALKERS act redefines stalking to include activity of which the victim may not be aware. Gibart outlines the clause’s potential use in a trial, “The jury isn’t looking at the victim and putting her on trial. What they’re looking at is the conduct of the perpetrator engaged in. Is it the type of conduct that was done with the intent and reasonable expectation that it would cause this harm?”
The House passed the bill following a Tuesday press conference by ESPN’s Erin Andrews who was victim of a nude video recording through a hotel peep hole. Her predator posted the footage on the internet. Andrews says it was difficult to prosecute because of a weakness in federal penalties.
Gibart says anytime a public figure, such as Andrews, comes forward it provides strength for other victims to do likewise. The sensitive nature of stalking and sex assault leads makes victims apprehensive in reporting their crimes.