Stalking is defined differently by different states, but generally involves repeated harassing or threatening behavior. A study by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control indicated that eight percent of women and two percent of men have been stalked at some point in their lives. Most victims know their stalker, and women are significantly more likely to be stalked by an intimate partner — a current or former spouse, a co-habiting partner or a date. Approximately 23 percent of stalkers identified by women were strangers.
With today's widespread technology, cyberstalking via the internet, cell phone and other technology is a reality. These new technologies also make it easier for predators to locate information about stalking victims.
Either physical or cyberstalking may or may not be accompanied by a threat of physical harm, but can cause psychological damage. Here are some tips from anti-stalking experts: Prevention
If you are being stalked…
- Keep personal information private as much as possible. Request an unlisted and unpublished phone number and have your name removed from so-called "reverse phone directories.
- Be careful what personal information you post online.
- Remove your name from apartment directories.
- If your wallet or identification is stolen, considering having your locks changed.
- Don't verify your home address or other personal information over the phone.
- Protect the privacy of your Social Security Number, the key to accessing much of your personal information.
- Notify University Police and Milwaukee Police if you live off campus. If you work or live in an area outside Milwaukee, also notify police in that area.
- Keep a detailed record of each encounter with the stalker including dates, times, locations, a description of the offender, words spoken, actions taken during the incident, actions taken afterward and names of witnesses.
- Record telephone calls and keep copies of email or other internet contacts.
- Let friends and neighbors know about the stalking and ask them to be alert for anyone asking for information about you or your schedule. If you have a photo of the stalker, show it to them.
- Always be vigilant about keeping car, house and apartment doors locked.
- Seek a protection or restraining order. Consult with police or victims' rights groups before taking this step since such actions may increase the potential for violence.
- Consider getting counseling or seeking help from a victims' support group to help deal with fear, anxiety and depression.
- Think about taking a self-defense course to increase your sense of security.
- Always carry a cell phone or high decibel personal battery powered alarm device.