What is stalking?
Stalking is the repeated following, watching or harassing of a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others, or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking can include:
- Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.
- Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
- Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place.
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim's children, relatives, friends, or pets.
- Damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property
- Harassing victim via the internet, social networking sites, or other electronic means.
- 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 victim's friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.
Stalking is a serious and potentially dangerous behavior
It should not be taken lightly or ignored, as the incidents may escalate in the frequency, severity, and level of intrusion/discomfort. Being stalked can be an exhausting, terrifying, and annoying experience. Unfortunately, in stalking cases, the victim--and not the stalker--may be forced to make changes in their behavior. It’s not fair, and most people don’t like hearing this. However, if you want to protect yourself and your loved ones, it may be necessary to make some temporary or long-term adjustments to prevent the stalker from threatening your privacy and safety.
Although you may feel compelled (or angered) enough to confront the stalker, this is usually counter-productive as it ultimately gives them what they want (contact with the victim) and potentially aggravates the problem and increases the likelihood of violence. It is important to seek help and utilize your resources to regain your sense of normalcy and maintain your right to feel safe.
Join us in January when we recognize Stalking Awareness Month and highlight ways we can take action to address and prevent stalking. You can also learn more about stalking at this link from RAINN.
Technology & Social Media Safety
Social media can be a fun way to connect with friends near and far. Unfortunately, folks can also use it to track and contact people in unwanted ways. If you have concerns about someone using technology and/or any other means to track you, contact you, etc., please reach out to the SHARE or the Confidential Support Team.
Below are a number of resources to explore related to technology and social media safety. You may also want to check out our Digital Safety webpage for more information about online harassment prevention and response.