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.
According to Loyola's Community Standards, stalking is a serious offense, and is expressly prohibited. Stalking is a course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear for their safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Examples of stalking acts may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- non-consensual communication, including face-to-face communication, telephone calls, voice messages, emails, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired
- use of online, electronic, or digital technologies, including: posting of pictures online, sending unwanted/unsolicited email or chat requests, posting private or public messages on social media sites, installing spyware on someone’s computer, and using GPS to monitor a person
- pursuing or following someone or waiting uninvited near place where a person frequents
- surveillance or other types of unreasonable observation, including staring or peeping
- trespassing or vandalism
- gathering information about an individual from friends, family, or co-workers
- threatening harm to self or others
Any of the above acts may still be considered stalking behaviors even if facilitated by a third party. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental anguish or suffering that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
While stalking behaviors can vary, some common things stalkers may do include:
- Following you and showing up wherever you are.
- Sending unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
- Damaging your home, car, or other property.
- Monitoring your phone calls or computer use.
- Using technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
- Driving by or hanging out at your home, school, or work.
- Threatening to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
- Finding out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
For someone's behavior to be characterized as stalking, they must include a course of conduct (2 or more acts) that cause you to feel fear.
Stalking is a serious crime and behaviors can escalate over time. If you feel that you are being stalked, there are resources for you.
Each year thousands of people are stalked on college campuses across the country. Stalking is more common than many people think.
- 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
- 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
- 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
Additional information: Stalking Resource Center
Source: Katrina Baum et al., (2009). "Stalking Victimization in the United States," (Washington, DC: BJS, 2009)