When a person repeatedly behaves or acts in a way that invades another individual’s life and causes them mental distress and/or fear of bodily harm.
- Following you, with or without your knowledge
- Calling or texting excessively
- Threatening to hurt you, your friends, family, pets, or themselves
- Damaging your property
- It can even look romantic or non-threatening, like cards, flowers, emails, etc., but if this behavior is unwanted, it could be stalking
This can include things such as changing your routine, arranging a place to stay and talking through scenarios to address encountering the abusive person: what to do if he or she shows up at your home, work, school, etc. Tell the people around you how they can help you if such an event happens – even consider showing them a picture and giving identifying information.
Other things you can do:
Trust your instincts. Sometimes you may want to ignore what’s happening, or to downplay and minimize the situation. The fact that you are uncomfortable or afraid is enough to take action to be safer.
Take threats seriously, even though it may be hard to believe someone would actually hurt you. Danger is usually higher when the abuser talks about suicide or homicide. If the person stalking you is someone with whom you’ve had a relationship, an attempt to leave or end the relationship can also increase the likelihood of a dangerous event. It is important to develop a safety plan prior to leaving the relationship, if possible.
Start a log/journal/calendar of abusive behavior. Write down the time, date and place of each incident, if there were any witnesses, what exactly happened, and how it made you feel.
Keep evidence of abuse. Save emails, texts, voicemails, letters, notes, etc. Photograph anything of yours that the abuser damages and any injuries that the abuser causes. If there are any witnesses, ask him or her to document what they saw.
Contact the Student Life Office | (740) 364-9578
Contact a 24-hour hotline: Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) | (614) 267-7020
Visit Survivor and Co-Survivor for more information on how to help a friend.