How to Support a Friend: Stalking Situation

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What is stalking?

Stalking is unwanted pursuit. Many victims are stalked by current or former intimate partners such as dating partners, spouses, or cohabiting partners. What was viewed initially as positive and/or romantic attention, may turn into the repeated unwanted attention, harassment, and contact that characterizes stalking. However, it’s important to remember that a stalker can also be an acquaintance or someone you do not know.


The Law

A stalker can be legally defined as “any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person with the intent to cause that person reasonable fear for their safety, or the safety of their immediate family.”

California Penal Code Section 646.9 and California Civil Code 1708.7 provide for victims to file a lawsuit against stalkers. There are federal laws against interstate stalking and interstate threats. You can find all these laws and codes at


Some things stalkers do

• Show up wherever you are
• Follow you
• Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups
• Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work
• Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails
• Monitor your phone calls or computer use
• Use technology, like hidden cameras, spyware, or global positioning systems, to track where you go
• Find out about you by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
• Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
• Damage your home, car, or other property
• Any other actions that control, track, or frighten you

There are two main reasons students don’t report stalking: they think the police won’t take it seriously, or they are unaware that the unwanted behavior was a crime.



Some security measures you can take

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous, but you can increase your safety by:

• Trust your instincts. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.
• Tell family, friends, roommates, RA’s, professors, and co-workers and seek their support. Ask them to help watch out for your safety, and not to give out any information about you.
• Consult with a victim advocate on campus or in the community to talk about your options.
• Change your email address, phone numbers, and internet screen names and be selective about giving those to others. Change passwords and clear your computer of all spyware.
• Be aware of what personal information the public and your friends can see on social networking sites. Don’t list your home address or phone number, and be weary of updating your whereabouts.
• Decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, or school.
• Don’t communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
• Change the keys to all your locks, and install deadbolts or security systems.
• Contact the police. Every state has stalking laws, and the stalker may also have broken other laws if they assault you or steal or destroy your property.
• Consider getting a court order that requires the stalker to stay away from you.


Evidence is Key to Prosecution

By documenting stalking activity, you can help law enforcement build a strong case. Write down everything that happens. Include dates, times, locations, witnesses, and any exact words that you can remember. Keep voice mails, emails, notes, gifts, and any objects or writings given to you. Also print chat room scripts or web pages. Be sure to include how each of the incidents made you feel as well as the specifics of the incident.



• Campus Violence Prevention Program (530) 752-3299 |

• Counseling and Psychological Services (530) 752-0871 |

• Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual Resource Center (530) 752-2452 |

• The National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center | (202) 467-8700

• Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center 24hr crisis line: (530) 662-1133 |

• Women’s Resources and Research Center (530) 752-3372 |

If you’d like to read about sexual harassment, visit the WRRC Library; you can also browse the library catalog online at


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