What is Stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. It is never a joke; it is a serious crime.
According to the Illinois law, stalking is a course of conduct directed against another person that they know (or should know) will cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety (or safety of a third party) or cause a victim emotional distress.
Loyola’s Student Handbook states that stalking is any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that place another person in reasonable fear of harm, threaten their mental health, and/or are intended to cause emotional distress, including unwelcome communications, threatening words/conduct, pursuing/following, and/or observing/surveillance.
Stalkers can be strangers, acquaintances, even current or former dating partners. Many stalkers know their victims and use many different tactics to stalk. The National Stalking Resource Center includes the following as forms of stalking:
Repeated phone calls (including hang ups)
Following you or showing up where you are
Unwanted cards, letters, gifts, emails, text messages, Facebook messages, etc.
Surveillance such as: monitoring phone calls, computer usage, tracking you with GPS or hidden cameras
Threats to hurt you, family, friends or pets
Anything else that frightens, threatens or controls you
How Common is Stalking?
Each year thousands of people are stalked on college campuses across the country. Stalking is more common than many people think.
1 in 4 women will be stalked in college. 1
3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States. 2
3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 2
30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. 2
46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week. 2
Stalkers can be very dangerous and should be taken seriously. If you believe you are being stalked, on-campus support is available to assist you make a safety plan, help you cope with emotional stress, and connect you to resources on and off campus.
1 National Stalking Resource Center, 1997
2 Katrina Baum et al., (2009). "Stalking Victimization in the United States," (Washington, DC: BJS, 2009)