What is Stalking?


Content warning: This page contains information about stalking.

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Stalking is a growing problem that can cause extreme fear and safety concerns for victims. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15.2% of women and 5.7% of men are victims of at least one stalking event.

Definition of Stalking

The definition of stalking provided by the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act is:

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Note: “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, device or means:

  • Follows someone else
  • Monitors, observes, or surveils another person
  • Threatens another person
  • Communicates to or about another person
  • Interferes with a person’s property.

“Reasonable person” is defined as a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim; and “suffer substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

The Missouri Definition of Stalking

Social Media

Social media and technology facilitated stalking has allowed stalking to become more prevalent and more covert. Stalking can be a precursor to other violent behaviors and should be taken seriously.

Examples of stalking behaviors include:

  • Constantly checking Facebook​ status and activity
  • Following
  • Watching from afar
  • Appearing at all or many of the same places
  • Unwanted letters, emails or gifts