Stalking is a prevalent crime, including on university campuses…and most victims know their stalkers.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 46 percent of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week and nearly three in four victims know their offender. Stalking impacts 6.6-7.5 million people a year in the U.S., where 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men are targeted.
Stalking is a crime
Stalking is defined in Michigan as a “willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, and/or harassed.” Stalking is any unwanted contact between a stalker and their target, which directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear.Some stalking behaviors include:
- repeated and unwanted contact by phone, text, or social media;
- following a person or showing up unexpectedly at locations; or
- leaving gifts for their target.
These types of behaviors are unacceptable and illegal; therefore they should be taken seriously and reported.
Resources are available
The National Center for Victims of Crime and Stalking Resource Center provides a comprehensive list of resources on its website at http://www.victimsofcrime.org/src and http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org/splash.html. Locally, we encourage all the campus community members experiencing interpersonal violence to contact UM-Flints Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (810) 762-3456 for free confidential counseling and support; https://www.umflint.edu/caps/counseling-accessibility-and-psychological-services-caps. The UM-Flint's Women's Education Center is available for advocacy and support services and can be contacted at (810) 237-6648; https://www.umflint.edu/wec/womens-educational-center.
- Take stalking seriously. Report it immediately.
- Be mindful of where your personal information may be publicly available. Consider removing or shielding your private information on social media sites and the U-M online directory.
- Disengage - do not meet, respond to, or contact your stalker in any way, including through other people.
- Let others know about the stalking behavior: friends, family, co-workers.
- Document all contact or stalking activity in a log. Record the date, time, location, and details of what happened, include a description of incident and any witnesses.
- Preserve all evidence of activity such as saving emails, text, or screen shots.