Stalking is any action that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or for the safety of another, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking behaviors can include repetitive phone calls or text messages, showing up uninvited at a person’s classroom, office or home, sending unwanted gifts or following a person on foot or in a vehicle. A stalker does not have to know that their actions are unwanted in order to commit an offense.
Stalking is a serious crime that can often escalate into violence, and it is strictly prohibited by Brookdale Community College.
There are varying degrees of stalking, each of which are explained in Brookdale’s official college regulations.
(from Stalking Victimization in the United States, a 2011 report sponsored by the Office on Violence Against Women)
- Women are nearly three times more likely than men to be stalked, and young people age 18 to 24 experience the highest rates of stalking.
- While women are significantly more likely to be stalked by a male (67%) than a female (24%), men are just as likely to be stalked by another male (41%) than a female (43%).
- Nearly three in four victims say they know their offender. Stalking victims most often identify the stalker as a former intimate partner (22%), or a friend, roommate or neighbor (16%). Only about one in ten victims is stalked by a stranger.
- Stalking victims are most likely to receive unwanted phone calls (66%), be the victim of rumors (36%), be followed or spied on (34%), receive unwanted letters or email (31%) and have their stalkers show up at places with no reason to be there (31%).
- Approximately 60 percent of victims do not report the stalking to police.
- More than one in four stalking victims reports that some form of cyberstalking was used against them, such as email (83% of all cyberstalking victims) or instant messaging (35%).
- Electronic monitoring of some kind is used to stalk one in 13 victims. Video or digital cameras are as likely as listening devices or bugs to be used to track victims.
College students and employees can be susceptible to stalking on campus, where they often spend time in public, follow regular routines, and interact with many of the same people on a daily basis.
While no two situations are alike, stalkers may often be a former romantic partner, friend or casual acquaintance, who uses guilt or blackmail to remain in a victim’s life. Stalking behavior may include regular calls or messages encouraging the victim to remain in contact, or threatening the victim with violence, retribution or self-harm if the stalker is ignored.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crimes, stalkers may send unwanted gifts, show up unannounced wherever you happen to be, drive by your home or reach out to your friends, family, neighbors or coworkers. Stalkers can also use social media and other technology to follow a victim.
How to React
If you believe you are the victim of stalking, keep a record of the perpetrator’s behaviors and reach out to an appropriate authority figure. Stalking can be extremely dangerous and should not be taken lightly.