A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Stalking and sexual assault are overwhelmingly perpetrated by someone the victim knows. 31% of women who are being stalked by an intimate partner have also been sexually assaulted by that partner.
Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. Most stalking cases involve males stalking females, but males do stalk males, females do stalk females, and females do stalk men. Stalking can be difficult to initially recognize because many indications of it are legal – such as leaving unwanted messages. But it’s critical to remember that stalking is “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics
- 3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States.
- More than 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of technology was used, such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%)
- 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
Know the signs of a stalker
- Repeatedly call and text you, including hang-ups
- Follow you and show up wherever you are
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails
- Damage your home, car, or other property
- Monitor our phone calls, computer use, or social network account
- Hack into your social networking accounts (Facebook) or email
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go
- Drive by or hang out at your apartment/residence hall, outside your classroom or at your work
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends or pets
- Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring private investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting your friends, classmates, family, neighbors, or co-workers
- Other actions that control or frighten you.
Counseling and Support
The impact of stalking and sexual violence can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, and insomnia, among many others. Contact the Counseling Center if you need help finding support on campus or visit our Resources page for off campus support. Additionally, victims of both crimes often lose time from work because of their victimization. Even though stalking is a crime in all 50 states, it is highly underreported. Just like sexual assault, a victim may not report the crime for a number of reasons.