Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content



Counseling Center

Humphreys 131
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4060
Hours: 8 AM-12PM, 1PM-5PM
Summer: 7:30AM-12PM,1PM-4:30PM





stalking

Stalking

Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at someone that places that person in reasonable fear of death or of serious bodily injury. It can include but is not limited to:

  • Repeated undesired contact (phone calls, emails, letters, showing up unexpectedly, etc.)
  • Following a person from place to place
  • Making threats to the individual or her or his family
  • Any behavior used to repeatedly contact, harass, track, or threaten the individual

Stalking is a series of actions that make someone feel afraid or in danger of injury or death. Stalking is serious and it can escalate over time.

A stalker can be someone you know, like a classmate or current intimate partner, or it can be a complete stranger. Stalkers can be of any gender, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Although most stalking involves men stalking women, men do stalk other men, and women do stalk other women or men.

Am I being Stalked

So maybe a female student in your class keeps showing up at your dorm and it’s starting to creep you out. Perhaps you are frequently annoyed by your ex-boyfriend’s lovesick emails. Is it stalking? Here are some things stalkers do that may help you assess the situation:

  • Show up unexpectedly at your residence, classes or places you frequent
  • Monitor your phone calls or computer use
  • Drive by or hang out at your home, school or work
  • Call you excessively, perhaps leaving threatening messages
  • Call you and hang up when you answer
  • Show up wherever you are
  • Follow you from place to place
  • Contact friends, family, coworkers or neighbors to find out your whereabouts
  • Use technology (like global positioning systems or hidden cameras) to track where you go
  • Harass you via online communities (like MySpace or Facebook) by posting notes and false information
  • Send unwanted gifts, letters, emails or messages via online communities
  • Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring private investigators or searching through your trash
  • Threaten to hurt you, your friends, family or pets
  • Damage your home, car or other property

Some information in this section was adapted from the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center, “Are You Being Stalked?”

back to top

What You Can Do

If you think you may be a victim of stalking, there are several things you can do. Even if you have doubts about whether a person's behavior qualifies as stalking, you may consider some of the options below:

  • Call 911. If you feel you are in immediate danger, the best thing to do is quickly call 911 for assistance. Remember that your safety is most important!

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, you probably are. Trust your gut, and don’t downplay the danger. Again, your safety is what is most important.

  • Tell someone about the situation. Even if you feel like you are overreacting, talking to someone about what is happening can help you feel less alone. You can talk to a trusted friend, roommate, parent or a Lighthouse staff member. You can also contact the NCVC Stalking Resource Center at 1-800-FYI-Call or gethelp@ncvc.org for assistance, or call a 24-hour crisis hotline.

  • Develop a support system. You may decide to let several friends or roommates know about the situation. They can meet you after class or work so you do not have to walk alone, and they can help you develop a safety plan if the stalker calls or visits your residence. They can also be witnesses to stalking occurrences if you later decide to report the situation to police or campus officials. You can also ask staff or security officers at your job or school to help watch out for your safety.

  • Develop a safety plan. You might think about changing your routine, arranging an alternate place to stay or having a trusted friend go places with you. And, you can decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work or school. You might also consider telling others how they can help you in such a situation.

  • Screen your calls. You may want to block this person's phone number from your cell or decide not to answer the phone unless you know who the caller is. This may prevent unwanted conversations.

  • Monitor your personal information. You may want to check where your contact information is available to the public. Many times, your information is automatically published in phone books or online directories unless you call the phone company or adjust online privacy settings. Privacy settings can also be adjusted in online community networks like MySpace or Facebook.

  • Get an unlisted phone number. If you are being frequently stalked by phone and it is continuously disruptive to your life, you may want to consider changing your number and making sure it is unlisted.

  • Keep evidence of the stalking. Even if you do not feel you are in immediate danger, it is never too early to start logging those seemingly coincidental or annoying encounters with a potential stalker. Keep a detailed account of the time, date, location and details of each encounter in a notebook or file on a safe (untracked) computer. This way, if you later decide to report the stalking to police, you will have documentation of this pattern. You may also realize from your logs that the situation is more serious than you previously thought.

  • Don’t communicate with the stalker. It is usually better to avoid initiating contact or responding to a stalker's attempts to contact you. You can never underestimate a stalker's potential for using violence, and your safety is extremely important.

  • Take threats seriously. Danger is usually higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when an intimate partner tries to leave or end a relationship with an abuser.

  • Report the stalking to police. You may decide to report the situation to campus or local police. If you have kept a log of encounters, give a copy to the officers when you make this report. Even if you feel you may be overreacting about the situation, officers will take you seriously and have your report on file if anything else happens. Legal or campus disciplinary action can only happen if you report the situation to law enforcement or campus officials. Remember that every state has stalking laws, and that the stalker may have broken other laws by doing things like assaulting you or destroying your property.

  • Consider getting an order of protection. You can apply for an order of protection so that the stalker is mandated to stay away from you. For more information about orders of protection, contact Survival Adult Abuse Center.

back to top

Impact of Stalking

Individuals who are stalked often change many of their behavior patterns and have strong emotional responses to the stalking. Some responses to stalking include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fear
  • Distrust
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Isolation

back to top

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is a pattern of threatening behaviors and unwanted advances directed from one individual to another over the Internet and other online and computer communications. Cyberstalking can take forms such as:

  • Threatening/obscene email
  • Live chat harassment or flaming (online verbal abuse)
  • Tracing victim’s computer and internet activity
  • Can include off-line stalking/harassment

back to top


How to get Help

About the Issues


Some information in this section was adapted from the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center, “Are You Being Stalked?”