If you are in need of immediate assistance, call 911 or GW Emergency Services.
Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, devise, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
It’s a crime that police take very seriously, both in its own right and because it can escalate into serious physical violence. It’s against the law in every state, and a federal crime when it happens across state lines.
Research suggests that stalking victimization may be greater among college students than in the general population. Many believe technology makes intimate partner violence and stalking more prevalent and more hidden.
If you think you’re being stalked, please talk to someone right away. Stalking can escalate quickly into more dangerous crimes and is unlikely to be a situation you can safely resolve on your own.
Signs You Are Being Stalked
Signs of stalking may include:
Repeated and unwanted communications by phone, mail, email, text, social media, etc.
Following or lying in wait at places such as home, school, work, or a place of recreation
Repeatedly leaving or sending unwanted items or presents
Making direct or indirect threats of harm against the victim, the victim's children, relatives, friends, or pets
Damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property
Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records and searching online, hiring private investigators, going through the victim's garbage, or contacting the victim's family and peers
To an outsider, stalking behavior can appear friendly and unthreatening, such as showering the victim with gifts or flattering messages. Victims may find themselves needing to explain to others just how intrusive and frightening unwanted attention can be.
Stalking is sometimes dismissed when it is done through technology (cell phones, computers, networking sites, surveillance equipment, and so on), but the medium is not what matters—it is the pattern of repeated, unwanted communication.
Being stalked can be frightening and stressful. We strongly urge you to be in contact with professionals who can help. The Title IX Office can help you assess the situation and make a safety plan. Please consider submitting an online report here and a member of the Title IX Office will be in touch to schedule an intake with you so we can get you the support you need.
Resources in D.C.
Utilize the National Center for Victims of Crime’s information about stalking and safety planning for further support.
Learn more about stalking victim support from the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center.