Interpersonal Violence Prevention Initiative
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
One in twelve women and one in forty-five men will be stalked in their lifetime.
Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted, obsessive attention by individuals (and sometimes groups of people) to others. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation. More importantly, it's a crime!
Stalking, by definition, is not a one-time act, but a course of conduct. It may involve criminal acts and acts that, in isolation, would seem non-threatening. It is the pattern and context of these non-criminal acts that constitute stalking.
Stalking on college campuses occurs at alarming rates and college students are at greater risk of being stalked than other populations. According to the most recent National Sexual Victimization of College Women Survey, more than one in eight, or 13 percent, of female college students surveyed were stalked within a six- to nine-month period.
3% of female college students have been victims of stalking.
73% of intimate partner stalkers verbally threatened victims with physical violence, and almost 64% of victims experienced one or more violent incidents by the stalker.
What does stalking look like?
Stalking usually involves more than one type of behavior. We've listed some of the more common behaviors in the graphic below.
- Disclosing to the victim personal information the offender has discovered about him or her
- Disseminating personal information about the victim to others
- Following the victim
- Visiting the victim at work or school
- Waiting outside the victim's house
- Sending the victim photographs taken of him or her without consent
- Monitoring the victim's internet history and computer usage
- Using technology to gather images of or information about the victim
- Assaulting the victim
- Violating protective orders
- Sexually assaulting the victim
- Vandalizing the victim's property
- Burglarizing the victim's home or otherwise stealing from the victim
- Threatening the victim
- Killing the victim's pet(s)
Stalking and College Campuses
Some aspects of campus life can increase the risk of stalking. For example, college students usually have digital profiles: Facebook, myspace, Twitter, and more that make it easy for someone to gather personal information about them. In addition, campuses generally offer an open atmosphere that is very appealing for students, many of whom are living-likely for the first time-without direct parental supervision. College buildings provide relatively easy access to virtually anyone who wishes to enter the premises. Students tend to follow predictable schedules, attending classes and eating meals at the same time each day, week after week.
College campuses are relatively closed-in communities, where daily routines and regular behaviors can be easily monitored.
As such, campus stalkers can easily familiarize themselves with a student's comings and goings. Stalkers can gain information about their victims in a number of ways, and stalking can take many forms. If you know what to look for, you can help yourself and your friends stay safe.
What You Can Do
There are many things you can do to keep yourself and your friends safe from stalking. If you think you or a friend is being stalked, take the following steps:
- Advise your employer of the stalking incidents - they can lend support or possible intervention.
- Treat any threat as a legitimate threat and notify police immediately.
- Program 9-1-1 on your cell phone. Oftentimes, the "1" key on your cell phone is automatically programmed for 9-1-1.
- Be sure your vehicle doors are locked while you are in the vehicle, and check in and around the vehicle before entering it.
- Request that someone escort you to and from your vehicle while arriving at/leaving your workplace.
- Avoid waiting alone, especially at night or in isolated areas.
- Install deadbolts on doors.
- Keep your home phone number unlisted; contact your local phone company to assist in tracing the origin of unsolicited calls.
- Use an answering machine to screen your calls; saved messages not only document the call, but may assist police as well.