CARE

Stalking

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. “Course of conduct” is defined as a pattern of two or more acts over a period of time, however short, that evidence a continuity of purpose. This includes direct, indirect, or 3rd party actions.

What Stalkers Do: 

  • Continue to contact you even though you have told them to stop.
  • Follow you and show up wherever you are.
  • Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, messages, or e-mails.
  • Damage your home, car, or other property.
  • Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
  • Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
  • Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about you on Facebook or other forms of social media, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
  • Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.

Do you feel?

  • FEARFUL of what the stalker will do?
  • VULNERABLE, unsafe, and do not know who to trust?
  • NERVOUS, irritable, impatient or on edge? 

The FEAR element: What causes fear to someone is often subjective. Stalking victims may be fearful of threats or actions that from an outside perspective may seem insignificant. For example, finding a rose on one’s car may seem nonthreatening and even romantic, but for a stalking victim, it may be a message that his/her stalker has found them. 

How Common is Stalking?

A recent study by the National Institute of Justice found that stalking was far more prevalent than anyone had imagined: 8% of American women and 2% of American men will be stalked in their lifetimes. That's 1.4 million American stalking victims every year.

The majority of stalkers have been in relationships with their victims, but a significant percentage either never met their victims, or were just acquaintances - neighbors, friends or co-workers.

Stalking: Protecting Yourself

  • Tell others you are being stalked: your family, friends, neighbors, RA and RC, the Office of the Dean of Students and apartment manager if you live off campus.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Do not set a routine for your daily activities. Inform others of changes to your route and other variations.
  • Change your phone number to an unpublished number and get caller ID if it is available.
  • Seek assistance and a threat assessment by a trained professional, e.g., law enforcement, victim services, and obtain a Domestic Violence Protection or Restraining Order if recommended.
  • Contact the UNCW Police Department for escorts.
  • Utilize any of 100+ UNCW emergency call boxes to contact University Police.
  • Maintain a stalking log detailing the date, time, length of unwanted calls, emails, instant messages and direct contact by the person stalking you, and file a police report for every contact made by the stalker.
  • File a police report for every contact made by the stalker.
  • Contact the CARE office at 962-CARE. We can provide information and assistance on other things you can do to protect yourself.

Cyberstalking

  • Cyberstalking can be defined as threatening behavior or unwanted advances directed at another using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications.
  • Cyberstalkers target their victims through chat rooms, message boards, discussion forums, and e-mail.
  • It can take many forms such as: threatening or obscene e-mail; spamming (in which a stalker sends a victim a multitude of junk e-mail); live chat harassment or flaming (online verbal abuse); leaving improper messages on message boards or in guest books; sending electronic viruses; sending unsolicited e-mail; tracing another person's computer and Internet activity, and electronic identity theft.
  • Similar to stalking off-line, online stalking can be a terrifying experience for victims, placing them at risk of psychological trauma, and possible physical harm. Many cyberstalking situations do evolve into off-line stalking, and a victim may experience abusive and excessive phone calls, vandalism, threatening or obscene mail, trespassing, and physical assault.

Cyberstalking is a crime in North Carolina. If are concerned that you are being cyberstalked, contact University Police at 962-2222

Additional Stalking-Related Resources

Stalking Resource Center- National Center for Victims of Crime