What is Stalking?
TTU’s Code of Student Conduct, specifically Part I, Section B.2.b.6 (found here), prohibits any intentional or reckless behavior that harms, threatens, or endangers the physical or emotional health or safety of self or others. This includes a specific provision regarding stalking, defined as:
Behavior, which includes but is not limited to, knowingly and repeatedly engaging in conduct that the individual knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to be fearful or suffer substantial emotional distress.
What is Stalking?
Sexual harassment can manifest in most any medium, including verbal comments, physical actions and activities, or conduct disseminated online or via social media.
Some examples of stalking behavior include:Harassing conduct will be disciplined if it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational, social, and/or residential program. (See Section G in the TTU Student Handbook: Freedom of Expression)
Some examples of possible Sexual Harassment include:
- Following the victim or the victim’s family and/or friends;
- Waiting for victim outside of their homes, classes, or work places;
- Approaching friends, family members, classmates, and/or coworkers about the victim;
- Leaving messages and/or gifts on the victim’s voicemail, doorstep, car windshield, etc.;
- Watching, photographing, and/or recording the victim without the victims knowledge and/or consent;
- Harassing the victim via the internet and/or social media;
- Spreading rumors about the victim.
- Arranging for a third party to deliver gifts and/or messages to the victim;
- Making explicit and/or veiled verbal and/or written threats toward the victim or their family and/or friends;
- Harming or threatening to harm the victim’s pet;
- Damaging and/or threatening to damage the victim’s property;
Stalking among college students often occurs when a romantic relationship ends and one party fails to accept the end of the relationship or when one party fails in the romantic pursuit of another.
What is a Stalker?
A stalker is a person who knowingly and repeatedly engages in stalking behavior towards a specific person. A stalker may be someone the victim knows or could be a complete stranger. Some stalkers will deny to themselves and others that they are engaging in stalking activities. A stalker may have a romantic interest in their victim, be curious about their victim’s life, have a strong desire to be friends with their victim, or may have a desire to harm their victim. Regardless of the stalkers intentions, it is harassing, intimidating and can be terrifying for the victim.
The Effects of Stalking:
Stalking can have devastating and long-lasting effects on the victim. Some victims of stalking have reported feelings of frustration, fear, anxiety, helplessness, powerlessness, lack of trust, insomnia, weight loss or gain, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
What to do if You are Being Stalked:
The first thing you should do when you believe someone is stalking you is to tell your stalker that you want them to leave you alone. Be firm and clear. Do not explain your request or get drawn into a conversation about it. Do not argue with them. Tell them you do not want to communicate with them at all and then walk away.
Once you have told your stalker to leave you alone, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The following is a list of suggestions for getting help and gathering evidence of the stalking behavior.
- Trust your instincts. Do not dismiss any threat to your health and/or safety.
- Tell your friends, family, professors, and manager at work about the situation. This may help you provide witnesses for an investigation.
- If you know your stalker, write down all of the identifying information you know about them and share it with your friends and family. This will help your friends and family stay vigilant so they can tell you if your stalker is following them as well.
- Take and save pictures of any gifts received by your stalker and/or destruction of your property.
- Record all phone calls from your stalker.
- Keep all messages and gifts from you stalker. Do not throw away or delete any electronic messages, pictures, videos, or voicemail messages. These may help prove a timeline of events and the severity of the stalking behavior.
- Keep a log of the time, date, and place of each and every incident of the stalking
behavior including, but not limited to:
- Each time the stalker drives past your house
- Each gift your stalker leaves for you
- Each time you receive any form of communication or gift
- Each time your stalker destroys your property
- Any time a friend or family member reports that the stalker was seen watching you. Ask them to write a short statement of the time, date, and a brief description of the occurrence (include witness name and contact information).
- Don’t give out your private information in a crowded place unless you can do so quietly. Shred any documents containing your phone number, address, social security number, or birthdate. Be aware of the personal information you post on social media including pet names, nicknames, and your parent’s full names. These can be used steal your identity, hack your passwords, and/or gain your friend’s and family member’s trust.
- Keep your number unlisted. Screen your calls using voicemail and Caller ID and do not answer calls from strangers.
- Lock your doors and windows to your home and car at all times, even when you are home or driving. Change the locks on your home and invest in a security system for your home and vehicle. Ask the police to make a security check of your home. They can identify entry points and suggest improvements for your safety.
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Stay in populated, well-lit areas. Keep an eye out for vehicles following you. If you think you are being followed, drive to a police station, a fire station, a hospital, or a crowded area such as a mall or restaurant and honk your car horn to attract attention.
- Develop a safety plan to follow in case of emergencies. Have a safe consolidation point for your friends and/or family to meet at if you have an emergency. Plan a few different routes to get to that place in case one of the routes is blocked by your stalker.
- Contact TTUPD or Lubbock PD and report each incident of the stalking behavior so there is an official report documenting each occurrence. Provide the police with copies of all communications from your stalker.
- Request a protective from your stalker. Note that this is generally available when the victim and the stalker are related, were married, lived together, or share a child.