Stalking on Campus
Stalkers Are Motivated by Obsession And a Desire for Control
What Is Stalking?
The intentional, unlawful and repeated harassment and/or following of a person, which causes that person to be in reasonable fear that he or she may be injured.
Harassment and stalking differ in that harassment carries and element of annoyance while stalking involves a feeling of fear.
Stalking may begin as bothersome attention, including: unwanted telephone calls (harassing, threatening, obscene, or otherwise), e-mails or letters; waiting for the victim after class or work; or asking repeatedly for shared social time. These incidents are sometimes first seen as flattering, but must be considered potentially dangerous. If not confronted early, the stalker may soon cross the line into criminal activity by engaging in threatening behavior that brings psychological and potential physical harm to the victim. Other stalking behaviors include: threats (by mail is federal felony), trespassing, burglary of victim's residence or vehicle (often shows no forced entry because stalker has a key), following the victim on foot or in a vehicle, vandalism of victim's property, home, vehicle, workplace, or vandalism to the property, etc. of any friend or family member who helps him/her.
Unlike other crimes, which normally consist of a single illegal act, stalking is a series of actions that, when taken individually, may be perfectly legal. For instance, sending a birthday card or flowers or standing across the street from someone's house is not a crime. However, when these actions are part of a course of conduct that is intended to instill fear in a victim, they may be considered illegal behavior.
Idaho Code 18-7905. "Any person who wilfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person or member of that person's family is guilty of the crime of stalking..."
Who Are The Stalkers?
Nearly 90% of stalkers are male. Most stalkers know their victims who are usually female. Sixty percent are current or former intimate partners. Male victims tend to be stalked by strangers and acquaintances rather than intimates. Most stalkers are in their late teens to middle aged. Most have above-average intelligence. They come from every socio-economic background. Many stalkers are anti-social, manipulative, deceptive, obsessive-compulsive, and have a history of failed relationships.
Why Should A Police Report be Made?
Stalking is a crime. Reporting the case to Public Safety or your local Police Department allows authorities to protect the victim and to hold the stalker accountable through the criminal justice system. Filing all reports helps to establish a pattern of contacts. Stalkers are often repetitive in their behaviors; thus, a police report might lead to ending an escalation of violence.
Contact Public Safety at 282-2515 or Pocatello Police at 234-6100, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk with an officer regarding any concerns or problems.
What if The Victim Does Not Want Police Involvement?
The victim should seek support immediately from the Janet C. Anderson Gender Resource Center at 282-4673 or from Family Services Alliance at 251-4357. Though most stalking does not end of its own accord, The Anderson Center and/or Family Services Alliance can help the victim understand stalking, and learn protective/legal measures.
What Are the Possible Legal Remedies for Stalking:
Campus students have more legal remedies when stalked by another student. A campus victim of stalking can bring criminal charges, file a civil lawsuit, and/or make a university judicial complaint.
What Does a Stalking Safety Plan Involve?
- No more contact with the stalker. It is difficult for the victim to cease contact, particularly if there was a friendship or emotional involvement, but this step is necessary and must be consistent with any and all contacts.
- Work with Public Safety and/or the Pocatello Police Department. Notify them of stalking incidents and to generate a police report of every stalking situation.
- Record incidents and document witness names, dates, times, locations, and what the stalker was saying, wearing, doing, and what vehicle the stalker was driving including the license plate number. Collect all evidence such as gifts, e-mails, or letter and phone calls. The Janet C Anderson Gender Resource Center can help you with documenting this information (282-5180).
- Press criminal charges because the stalker needs to be held accountable. Charging the stalker with criminal charges such as trespassing, vandalism, harassing telephone calls, etc. helps build a case for a stalking warrant.
- Alert all co-workers, supervisors, professors, day care workers, etc., if applicable. Provide photographs of the stalker, if available, to all involved.
- Consider carrying a cell phone so you can call for help.
- Apply the Buckley Amendment to student information at registration, which will freeze all student information.
- Change personal schedules and avoid isolation. Change classes, if necessary, to avoid being in the same class with the stalker.
- Use the Public Safety Escort Service (ext. 2515) and know the locations of the emergency blue light phones on campus.
What About Cyberstalking?
Universities represent one of the largest groups of internet users and, due to the increased accessibility and decreased accountability afforded to on-line communications, stalking activity has entered cyberspace. Cyberstalkers can easily disguise themselves by adopting several false identities and then harass the victim through unsolicited e-mails, disturbing private or public messages on bulletin boards or in chat rooms, and communicate actual threats of harm. For more information on cyberstalking go to cyberangels.org.
For more information on stalking go to the Janet C. Anderson Resource webpage entitled Stalking 101: Taking Back Control
IN AN EMERGENCY ALWAYS DIAL 911!