Stalking

Although Case has no specific stalking policy, complaints of stalking made to the university will be handled under the university policies and procedures for harassment or sexual harassment, depending on the perceptions of ther person making the complaint.

Stalking is persistent, unwelcome intrusion into someone's daily life. The stalker may follow the victim on foot or by car; call on the phone, send many letters and e-mails; or show up repeatedly at the victim's home, dormitory, or place of employment; and contact the victim's family and friends. The National Center for Victims of Crime defines stalking as "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear." Stalking has become increasingly common on college campuses.

stalkMost stalkers fall into the intimate partner stalker category. They have been in a relationship with their victims and refuse to let go. They are not rational, believing that their victim still loves them, has been influenced by others to end the relationship. It is estimated that 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime. According to one study, 13 percent of college women were stalked during a six- to nine-month period, and 80 percent of campus stalkers knew their victims. The impact of stalking on its victims includes feeling of fear, helplessness, and frustration; anxiety; insomnia; and depression.

Stalking is a crime under the laws of all 50 states. Under Ohio's criminal code, menacing by stalking is a felony in the fourth degree; "aggravated menacing"—that is, causing the victim to believe the offender will cause serious physical harm to the victim, their property, a child, or unborn child, or a member of the victim's immediate family is a first-degree misdemeanor. Ohio law also covers telecommunications harassment, which is a misdemeanor of the first degree on the first offense, and a fifth-degree felony on the second offense.

What part of "it's over" don't you understand?

How to deal with a stalker

If you have made it clear to someone that you do not want to see them, and they follow you; call and e-mail you repeatedly; show up uninvited at your dorm, apartment, job, or even in public places, like your favorite café, and if this behavior makes you uneasy, you are being stalked. What should you do?

  • If you think you are in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 or Campus Security at 368-3333.
  • Your first conversation with a stalker must be your last. Say once and once only that you want nothing to do with him or her.
  • Don't get drawn into further conversations and explanations. No conversation will be long enough, no explanation convincing enough. You can't reason with a stalker.
  • Don't fall into the trap of feeling sorry for them. Stalking behavior is intrusive, intimidating, and pathological.
  • Don't believe that if you "let them down easy" they will leave you alone. You must be firm and clear.
  • Do not interpret the stalker's persistence as your failure to be clear. What you say, and what the stalker hears are two different things. If you say, "I don't want a relationship now," the stalker hears "but I might want to be with you someday." If you say, "I just need some space," the stalker hears, "she'll come back to me after she spends some time with her friends." You can't engage; that's what the stalker wants.

While there is no clear-cut psychological stalker profile, most stalkers fall into one of three categories:

Former intimate partner stalkers—Persist—sometimes for years—in trying to revive a relationship. Their tenacity is not a measure of unselfish love, but of a controlling and emotionally abusive personality. Many intimate partner stalkers have criminal records and were abused or emotionally neglected as children.

Delusional stalkers—Have had little or no contact with their victims, but believe they have a strong connection and will someday have a relationship. Delusional stalkers may suffer from serious mental illness; famous people are often their victims.

Vengeful stalkers—Are angry with their victims. The slight may be real or imagined. They may stalk politicians, former bosses, and former spouses or co-workers. Intimate partner stalkers may become vengeful if the victim moves away or takes legal action. Their aim is to "get even."

If you think you are being stalked:

Protect yourself. Contact University Protective Services at 368-4630 so that they may assist you in safeguarding yourself while they work with local authorities to apprehend your stalker.

Confront the stress and anxiety you are feeling. Make an appointment with University Counseling Services by calling 368-5872 for an appointment at the 201 Sears location, or 368-2510 for an appointment at the Center for Collegiate Behavioral Health in the University Health Services location.

Learn about other administrative resources. Contact the Office of Student Affairs at 368.2020 so that they may advise you and walk you through any administrative procedures that may apply to your situation.