What is Stalking?

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.  For the purposes of this definition:

-Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

-Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

-Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Stalkers often try to intimidate, harass, and control their victims. They may do this in a number of ways. The behavior may start slowly and escalate. For instance, a stalker may begin by calling once or twice a day and progress to calling several times a day, following you, and waiting for you outside of classes or work.

Anyone can stalk or be stalked, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, ability, or income level. Stalking may involve family members, friends, intimate partners, classmates, coworkers, casual acquaintances, or even total strangers.

Most often, stalkers know their victims. Most female victims and many male victims are stalked by intimate partners. Stalking is most dangerous when it occurs as part of an abusive relationship. An attempt to end an abusive relationship often causes the abuser to become more possessive and can sometimes lead to stalking.

Online Stalking

Cyber stalking is the use of the Internet, email, or other telecommunication technologies to harass, threaten, or intimidate another person. It is an extension of stalking from physical space to cyberspace.

A cyber stalker is someone who methodically, deliberately, and persistently sends unwanted communications that do not stop even after you have requested that he or she end all contact with you. Cyber stalking may take many different forms. A cyber stalker may:

  • use the Internet to identify and track you
  • send unsolicited email, including hate mail or obscene or threatening messages
  • post messages about you or spread rumors about you through newsgroups
  • create websites that provide real or false personal information about you
  • Assume your identity online (i.e., in chat rooms, instant messages, or email) to embarrass you, to pry into your personal life, or for other negative purposes.

More information can be found at victimsofcrime.org

Campus information regarding cyberstalking can be found at Information Security Office