REFRAME #6: STALKING ISN’T A JOKE.
“I totally Facebook stalked you” Stalking isn’t a joke.
As a culture, we often use the word “stalking” to describe lighthearted or humorous behavior. In reality though, stalking is a very serious form of interpersonal violence. Instances of stalking can escalate from 0 to 60 pretty fast, beginning with behavior that feels annoying or bothersome and shifting to actions that can feel scary.
So if you’re following someone, texting them excessively, or showing up uninvited, knock it off. And if you’re starting to feel concerned about someone, trust your gut — if something feels off, it probably is. If you feel afraid, tell the person to stop and ask for help. Let’s REFRAME our understanding about the seriousness of stalking.
A pattern of two or more incidents of unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause reasonable persons to fear harm to their physical health, mental or emotional health, safety, friends, family, or property
That’s not stalking… or is it?
- Driving by or hanging around where you live, attend classes, or work
- Finding out about you by using online search services and social media sites
- Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth
- Taking and/or posting pictures of you without your permission
- Sending unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or emails
- Continually seeking out information about you through mutual friends
- Continuing to call and text even after you have asked them to stop
All too often we don’t take stalking behaviors seriously and tend to minimize what is actually a troubling pattern of behaviors. We think that our ex-partner is just having a hard time moving on, so we excuse away the excessive texting, calling, emailing, etc. It’s actually really important to take seriously any of these common behaviors that in isolation we might not think of as stalking.
Statistics on stalking:
66.2% of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- 80% of campus stalking victims knew their stalker.
- 31% of the women who are stalked by an intimate partner are sexually assaulted by that partner.
- Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. have experienced stalking during their lifetime.
- People of all genders can be perpetrators or victims of stalking. However, 80% of all stalking cases involve men stalking women.