Stalking


Stalking is behavior in which a person repeatedly engages in conduct directed at a specific person that places that person in reasonable fear of his or her safety or the safety of others. Stalking behavior can including repeatedly following you, loitering near your class or work, or attempting to contact you; unwanted texts, calls or gifts; unwanted contact through social media; repeated, unwelcome inquiries about you made to your friends or family.

 


Taking Care of Yourself

If you think you are being stalked, develop a support system. Keep in touch with people who are supportive and understanding. Tell someone about each encounter with the stalker. You can reach out your resident assistant, a trusted friend or a coworker, or to UHS Social Services/Employee Assistance for support.

If you are being stalked, you may experience a range of emotions or physical symptoms. You are not going crazy; your body and mind are reacting to the extreme stress caused by the continuing victimization. Talking to someone who is trained to work with stalking targets and survivors may help alleviate some of the symptoms that might be interfering in other aspects of your life.

Psychological effects on targets/survivors can include:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Inability to trust
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
  • Exhaustion and/or frequent crying spells
  • Inability to concentrate on your schoolwork
  • Declining academic or work performance

 


Stalking on College Campuses

  • Tell the stalker once that you do not want to have any further contact. Be firm. Please do not engage in further conversation or debate. The stalker wants to keep you involved in conversation and may try to manipulate your emotions to get you to continue communicating or interacting in some way.
  • Talk to someone., like a trusted friend of family member. Consider going to the University Police, UHS Social Services or connecting with the PATH to Care Center (confidential advocates who can support and help with safety planning), Dean of Students, or Gender Equity Resource Center for assistance. 
  • Never leave your residence hall room or office unlocked, even if you are inside the room. Think safety.
  • Some stalkers heavily use email or texting. If you are a target of unwanted electronic communication, contact the campus police.
  • Other tools stalkers use to find out about you, your movements and your friends are the Internet, social media, certain apps, talking to your peers, or checking out fitness centers and clubs you attend. They may also attempt to lure people through advertisements for rentals, items for sales or modeling/job opportunities.

Suggestions

  • Limit your use of social media and make certain to have the tightest controls possible; block your stalker.  Websites like Teaching Privacy (beta) share information about how your personal information can be used.
  • Review what is online about you - articles, awards, photos, directory information, social media, club membership lists and more.
  • Vary your routine, including changing routes to work, class, the gym, the lab and other places you regularly frequent.
  • Arrange a back-up place to stay. Be accompanied in public whenever possible.  Decide in advance what you will do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, class, or elsewhere.
  • Give your email, address and phone number to as few people as possible. Get an unlisted telephone and cel phone number.  Screen your calls, do not answer  calls from blocked numbers. Report threatening phone calls to the telephone company and the local police every time they occur. Keep a log.
  • Trace your calls: Use *69, call return (redials most recent number). You may then hang up at any time. Immediately after the call, phone the police to report the call and have them trace the number.
  • Form a contingency plan. Be prepared for a quick departure should the threats escalate. Keep reserve money, important items and phone numbers in an easily accessible place.
  • Inform professional organizations, Human Resources, your Department, or the Office of the Registrar that they are to provide no one with information about you.  
  • Consider getting a Temporary Restraining Order (court ordered) or a No Contact (campus directive) that requires the stalker to stay away from you and cease contact.
  • Lock all doors at home, in the residence hall, and in your car, even when you are inside.  Use deadbolt locks whenever possible.
  • If you are being followed, go to a safer area - DO NOT GO HOME.  Consider going to the nearest police station or a busy place.  If you're driving, use your horn to make noise to attract attention.
  • If you move residence, be aware of a "paper trail."  Avoid having anything forwarded to your new address.
  • Consider using websites, tools and apps (free or paid) that help to track incidents and offer suggestions/information - for example, StopaStalker, Circle of 6, Teaching Privacy (beta), OnWatch.

University Health Services offers students after-hours emergency consultation with a counselor 
and crisis resource referrals by calling (855) 817-5667.