Stalking is defined as repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
It’s a crime that police take very seriously, both in its own right and because it can escalate into serious physical violence. It’s against the law in every state, and a federal crime when it happens across state lines.
Research suggests that stalking victimization may be greater among college students than in the general population. Many believe technology makes dating abuse more prevalent and more hidden.
If you think you’re being stalked, please talk to someone right away. Stalking can escalate quickly into more dangerous crimes and is unlikely to be a situation you can safely resolve on your own.
Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, email, text, social media, etc.
Following or lying in wait at places such as home, school, work, or a place of recreation
Repeatedly leaving or sending unwanted items or presents
Making direct or indirect threats of harm against the victim, the victim's children, relatives, friends, or pets
Damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property
Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth
Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using Internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim's garbage, following the victim, contacting the victim's friends, family, work, or neighbors
To an outsider, stalking behavior can appear friendly and unthreatening, such as showering the victim with gifts or flattering messages. Victims may find themselves needing to explain to others just how intrusive and frightening unwanted attention can be.
Stalking is sometimes dismissed when it is done through technology (cell phones, computers, networking sites, surveillance equipment, and so on), but the medium is not what matters—it is the pattern of repeated, unwanted communication.
Being stalked can be frightening and stressful. Stalking can escalate quickly into more dangerous crimes. We strongly urge you to be in contact with professionals who can help. This is unlikely to be a situation you can safely resolve on your own. The Sexual Assault Response & Consultation Team can help you assess the situation and make a safety plan.