Sometimes it can be hard to know where to draw the line between annoying, clingy interactions and stalking. Shows and movies can make it seem like persistence is the key to winning someone over. However, persistence can quickly turn into discomfort or fear when it’s unwelcome. Here are a few things everyone should know about stalking.
#1 Stalking can take many forms
Stalking goes beyond following someone. It can include a variety of tactics, which can happen in person and/or online. Stalking is defined as a pattern of unwanted behavior, directed at a specific person, which causes that person to change their routine or feel afraid, nervous or in danger.
Examples of stalking behaviors include:
#2 Stalking can happen to anyone
While stalking is often directed at someone from a previous or current intimate relationship, a person can also be stalked by former friends, roommates, classmates or someone they have occasionally or never met before, including matches from dating apps.
Here are some ways to identify healthy, unhealthy and concerning behaviors that may require additional help or support:
Healthy boundaries are when: You say “no” and the other person respectfully leaves and does not contact you again.
Unhealthy behaviors are when: You say “no” and the other person contacts you again.
Consider discussing with someone or documenting what is happening when: You say “no” again and the other person tries to talk you into saying “yes”, continues to contact you and/or contacts you more often.
Consider calling the police/seeking help when: You are contacted repeatedly, the other person shows up where you are, indirectly threatens you, is disrespectful and/or does not take “no” for an answer.
Call 911 when: The other person directly threatens you, tries to physically harm you, harms you or damages your property (including your pets).
#3 Stalking is a serious criminal offense
Stalking behaviors by themselves may or may not be illegal. However, context of the behaviors and the impact they have on the other person are key. Stalking violates CU’s campus policies and is considered a serious crime in Colorado. CU Boulder provides a number of reporting and support options for those experiencing stalking.