When most people think of stalking, they may think that only celebrities or famous people are stalked. However, the vast majority of stalking cases are people who are not in the public spotlight. Stalking happens to both men and women and may involve family members, friends, current or ex boyfriends/girlfriends or co-workers. Most stalking takes place between people who know each other.
Stalking is a crime in the state of Maryland and a violation of Salisbury University's Student Code of Community Standards. Stalking is defined as "repetitive, menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community" at Salisbury University.
Stalking can happen anywhere, but the closed setting of a college campus can make it easier for stalkers to trace the movements of their victims. Some examples of what stalking behavior may look like on a college campus include:
- Leaving harassing or unwanted notes under someone's door or on their dry erase board.
- Constantly checking someone's online profile to keep watch on their activities.
- Constantly texting or calling someone who does not wish to communicate with you.
- Posting information, whether it be true or false on a website for the purpose of embarrassing, scaring or harming someone's reputation.
- Looking up someone's schedule or activities on Facebook or other social networking sites for the purpose of following him/her.
- Messaging someone repeatedly when they have asked you to stop or if you are using these messages to try to control them.
- Posting pictures of someone online to try to embarrass or scare them.
If you are engaged in stalking another person, get help by setting up an appointment in the Counseling Center (410.543.6070). Stalking is a violation of Salisbury University's Code of Community Standards.
Stalking is a serious crime and can significantly disrupt a student's college experience. The stress caused by being stalked can lead to a variety of symptoms including difficulty sleeping (either unable to stay or fall asleep), anxiety, depression, anger, fearfulness and constantly feeling "on edge". Stalking may also disrupt a student's life in other ways such as having to change their phone number, change their residence or change other aspects of their life.
If you are being stalked, it can be very helpful to talk to someone who is trained in working with issues of stalking and can help you deal with your feelings. Contact the Counseling Center (410.543.6070) to set up an appointment.
It is important to document all incidents of stalking that occur even if you are not sure what you will do with the information. Be sure to write down each time the stalker contacts you. The log should include the time, date, location and the words and actions of the stalker. Here is an example of a stalking incident log. Be sure to to save any and all texts, emails, unwanted gifts and other attempted contacts that the stalker makes.