Stalking is a pattern of legal and/or illegal goal-directed behavior that can be influenced by an irrational and/or delusional thought process. Stalkers have an emotional obsession with the victim and tend to hold a selfish perception of the relationship. Through stalking, they empower themselves to feel omnipotent and in control of the relationship while creating a state of vulnerability in the other person. The legal definition of stalking is “willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassment combined with the credible threat intended to make the victim fear death or serious injury.” Stalking behavior includes following the victim to school, the theater, the grocery store, home, etc.; repeated harassing attempts to communicate via phone, email, text message, letters, etc.; giving unwanted gifts; vandalizing the victim’s property; and paying unwanted attention to the victim. Stalkers can be male or female, and their targets can be members of the same or opposite sex.
If you become aware of a student who is feeling unsafe around another person and believes he or she is being stalked:
- Encourage the student to trust his/her instincts.
- Refer the student to Counseling Services, 906-487-2538.
- Refer the student to the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, 906-487-2212
- Advise the student to call Public Safety and Police Services, 906-487-2216, or local police (911).
- Report the incident to the Title IX coordinator.
- Advise the student to document each stalking incident and save correspondence so it may be used as evidence.
- Advise the student to contact Public Safety and Police Services if he or she does not feel safe walking on campus. Public Safety and Police Services offers a Safe-Walk program, which provides an escorted walk to and from campus locations, and can be reached at 906-487-2216.
- Ignore or minimize the situation.
- Blame the student for inviting the obsession.
- Feel responsible for protecting the student.