Stalking is an unwanted pursuit that causes the victim to fear for his or her safety. It can occur during or after a relationship, or in the absence of a relationship, and usually involves conduct that serves to harass, intimidate and frighten. If you feel you are being stalked, contact DPS. They can help you work with Student Affairs in obtaining a stay away order.
Most cases of stalking on campus involve situations in which one person cannot accept the end of the romantic relationship or appropriately deal with a failed attempt at a romantic pursuit. Those who engage in acts of stalking often believe that their victim loves them and has been influenced by others to either end the relationship or fail to engage in a relationship. It’s estimated that 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime. The effects of stalking can be devastating for victims and include fear, helplessness, frustration, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Stalking is a crime and, per Wisconsin law, acts include but are not limited to:
- Maintaining a visual or physical proximity to the victim.
- Approaching or confronting the victim.
- Appearing at the victim’s workplace or contacting coworkers or employers of the victim.
- Appearing at the victim’s home or school or contacting the victim’s neighbors.
- Contacting the victim by telephone or other means repeatedly, whether or not the contact is acknowledged.
- Photographing, videotaping, audiotaping, or, by other electronic means, monitoring or recording the victim’s activities.
- Sending material by any means to the victim or the victim’s family, member of the victim’s household, employer, coworker, or friend in order to obtain information about, disseminate information about, or communicate with the victim.
- Placing an object on or delivering an object to property owned, leased or occupied by the victim.
- Delivering objects to others with the intent of delivery to the victim, or placing objects on property owned, leased or occupied by certain others with intent that it be delivered to the victim.
Resolving a stalking experience can often become frustrating and frightening. There are several important things to consider in ending a stalking situation:
- The first step is to directly inform the person stalking you that you do not want to have any contact with him or her. State this request firmly and do not get drawn into providing reasons or further explanations.
- Once you have informed them of your request, any contact should be documented and reported to the Department of Public Safety. Save all notes, texts, voice mails, emails, Facebook messages and other forms of communication until the incident is thoroughly investigated.
- Do not respond to requests for information or explanations from others who attempt to contact you on the stalker’s behalf.
- Be clear in what you say to the stalker. What you say and what the stalker hears will be completely different. If you say, "I don't want a relationship now," the stalker hears, "But I might want to be with you someday.” Remain firm and do not fall into the trap of feeling sorry for the stalker or guilty about handling the situation decisively.