Stalking is defined as when someone repeatedly (at least 2 times) follows you, hides to wait for you, or engages in “threatening behavior” towards you or someone in your family and the conduct must:

    • have no legitimate (valid) purpose; and
    • reasonably cause you to:

– fear for your safety or

– suffer substantial emotional harm

“Threatening behavior” means acting in a way that that reasonably causes you to fear that the abuser will:

    • commit unlawful sexual acts;
    • illegally restrain you;
    • cause physical injury; or
    • cause death.

The threatening behavior can include threats made verbally, in writing, through the phone/text, or other electronics; vandalism (destruction or harm); or physical contact without consent.

Stalkers may intimidate a person in a number of ways.

    • Following the victim
    • Watching the victim’s home or place of employment
    • Writing letters or sending unwanted gifts to the victim or their family
    • Spreading rumors
    • Making repeated and unwanted phone calls, texts, emails, or contacts through social networking websites
    • Threatening to commit physical or sexual violence
    • Threatening to harm themselves as a way to intimidate the person they’re stalking
    • Using GPS, cell phone tracking and other technology to constantly track the victim’s location

Stalking, like sexual violence, is often committed by someone the victim knows. Stalkers may be current or former intimate partners and stalking behavior is often linked with domestic violence. However, stalkers may also be someone the victim went on just a few dates with, someone the victim works with or someone the victim has only met briefly. The stalker is often trying to force a relationship with someone who is unwilling and they may go to great lengths in order to know what the person they are stalking is doing at all times.

Stalking behaviors can cause the victim emotional distress or fear for her or his personal safety or the safety of her or his family.

According to the National Stalking Resource Center’s “Stalking Fact Sheet” (PDF):

    • Every year, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older are victims of stalking.
    • 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
    • 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
    • Females experienced 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 or older, males at a rate of 7 per 1,000.
    • People between the ages of 18 and 24 experienced the highest rates of stalking victimization.