Stalking and Harassment
Stalking is a series of actions that make you feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is a serious crime and can often escalate into violence over time.
A stalker can be someone you know well (e.g., friend, current or former boyfriend, girlfriend, partner) or not at all. Most stalking cases involve a current or former partner of the victim.
- Follow you and show up whenever you are
- Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups
- Damage your property
- Send you unwanted gifts, letter, cards, or e-mails
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems, to track where you go Drive by or hang out at your home, residence hall, school, or work
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
- Find out about you using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going though your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you
Stalking should be taken very seriously; it is unpredictable and dangerous. Over time stalking behaviors can escalate to violence against the victim.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
- Trust your instincts. Don't downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.
- Take threats seriously. Danger is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when the victim tried to leave the relationship.
- Contact the police. The University Police or the Village of Fredonia Police can assist you with stalker. Consider getting an order of protection that tells the stalker to stay away from you.
- For assistance contact the PAWS program (673-3424) or The Anew Center (1-800-252-8748). Both can provide crisis intervention, advocacy, and referrals for victims of stalking and relationship violence. Both services are free and confidential.
- Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Inform friends, family, and co-workers about the situation.
- Don't communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
- Keep evidence of stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep e-mails, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph anything the stalker damages and injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw.
- Tell family; friends; roommates; your RA and RD; and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support. Ask them to help watch out for your safety.
Adapted from The National Center for Victims of Crime
- Feel fear of what the stalker will do.
- Feel vulnerable, unsafe, and not know who to trust.
- Feel nervous, irritable, impatient, or on edge.
- Feel depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful, or angry.
- Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things.
- Have eating problems, such as appetite loss, forgetting to eat, or overeating.
- Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
- Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don't understand why you are afraid.
These are common reactions to being stalked.
It can help to talk to someone about your concerns, consider talking to a friend, your RA/RD, or contacting the PAWS program. The PAWS program is coordinated through the Counseling Center and assists students who are experiencing stalking or other types of interpersonal violence. We can answer questions, be someone to talk to, offer emotional support, and provide referrals. All services are free and confidential.