What is Stalking?

Legal definitions may vary by jurisdiction, but stalking is generally defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the federal government as well as a violation of the Wake Forest University Sexual Misconduct Policy. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.

A stalker can be someone you know well or someone you do not know at all. Most stalkers have dated or been involved with the person they stalk. 

Stalking victims are not to blame for a stalker’s behaviors and it is estimated that 6.6 million men and women are affected by stalking each year.

Some things stalkers do

  • Follow you and show up wherever you are.
  • Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, emails, text messages, or social media messages.
  • Damage your home, car, or other property.
  • Monitor your phone or computer use.
  • Use technology, like GPS or social media “check-ins” to track your location.
  • Pass by or hang out at your dorm, classes, or work.
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
  • Find out about you by using public records, social media, contacting friends, family, or acquaintances.
  • Post information or spread rumors about you on the internet, a public place, or by word of mouth.
  • Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.


Stalking Resource Center

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