Stalking

Research shows rates of stalking between college students exceed those in the general population. As many as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience stalking while in college; the most common relationship between them is that the stalker is a current or former intimate partner. Stalking may be a component of relationship violence; visit the Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships page to learn more about power and control in relationships.

Stalking stalking behaviors are so often normalized as romantic behaviors, and therefore may be minimized or dismissed. Stalking is also a contextual crime; it is difficult to understand the weight of what is happening simply from one action of the perpetrator. Still, like other forms of gender based violence, it is important to not blame those experiencing stalking, and to validate and believe the reaction they may have to it. CARE is dedicated to supporting survivors; schedule an appointment to talk to an advocate.

Defining Stalking

Northwestern University defines stalking as:

“A course of conduct directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety (or the safety of a third party) or suffer substantial emotional distress. Conduct that can amount to stalking may include two or more actions directed at another person, whether done directly, indirectly, through others, via devices, or via any other methods or means (specifically including electronic means).”

This definition is taken from Sexual Misconduct and Title IX website, where additional definitions of sexual misconduct may be found.

Some common stalking behaviors to recognize may include:

  • Using technology or the Internet in a malicious way to control, harass, or spread rumors about a person
  • Always happening to be at the same parties, classes, etc. as a person
  • Damaging or threatening to damage property
  • Following or lying in wait for an individual
  • Defaming character.

Stalking is a crime in Illinois, making it possible to take legal action, such as getting Stalking No Contact Orders (pdf). Information on the state definition is available in the Illinois Criminal Code.

Resources for Additional Information: