Stalking Awareness and Support

What is stalking?

A pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking Prevention, Awareness, & Resource Center (SPARC)

  • Surveillance: watching, following, gathering information
  • Intimidation: threatening and/or scaring the victim
  • Interference: sabotaging, attacking or otherwise changing the victime's life
  • Life invasion: showing up in the victim's life

Stalking statistics

Adapted from SPARC.

  • Less than 40% of stalking victims report to law enforcement
  • Women are more likely to experience stalking than men
  • The majority of victims report that the offender is male — regardless of victim’s sexual orientation
  • Nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience stalking in their lifetimes
  • Laws against stalking can vary by state

Can stalking be traumatic for someone?

Yes. “Psychological trauma is the unique individual experience of an event, a series of events or a set of enduring conditions in which: the individual’s ability to integrate his or her emotional experience is overwhelmed or the individual experiences (subjectively) a threat to life, bodily integrity or sanity.” — Karen Saakvitne, 2000

Psychological effects on stalking victims

  • Denial, confusion, self-doubt, questioning oneself (“Am I being unreasonable or over-reacting?”)
  • Frustration, guilt, embarrassment, self-blame
  • Apprehension, fear of being alone or fear of others being harmed
  • Feeling isolated and/or helpless to stop the stalking or harassment
  • Depression and related symptoms
  • Anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia (frightened to leave dorm/apartment),
  • difficulty concentrating, focusing in classes or studying
  • Sleep disruption — nightmares, ruminating
  • Insecurity and inability to trust others; difficulty with intimacy and socializing
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic/acute stress disorder, e.g. hypervigilance, flashbacks, easily startled
  • Irritability, anger, emotional numbing
  • Self-medication with alcohol/drugs or using prescribed medications
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or suicide attempts
  • Loss of purpose and connection from effects on academics, social life
  • Loss of job, victim having to move or change identity
  • Loss of social support due to third-party harassment or victimization
  • Avoidance of self-care activities, e.g. going to the gym, going out with friends, running errands
  • Loss of identity from lack of normal activities

What to do if you or someone you know is being stalked

  • Find professional support: 
    • On campus: VARCC, University Counseling Center (UCC), Dean of Students CARE team, University Police (UPD)
    • Off campus: Crime Victims Assistance Center (advocacy, resources and support services) RISE (domestic violence shelter)
  • Use social support: 
    • Talk to a friend or family member about what you are experiencing.
  • Document — safely — what is happening to you for your own records. 
  • Take safety measures/engage in safety planning with an advocate.
    • E.g. walking with a friend, carrying pepper spray, taking defense classes, sharing location with a friend
  • Treat yourself with self-compassion and understanding.
    • Your experience is real and your feelings are valid!

Where to get help


  • 607-777-3010
  • Old Johnson, third floor

University Counseling Center 

  • 607-777-2772
  • OO-264 

University Police

  • 607-777-2222
  • AD-G24

CARE team 

  • 607-777-2804
  • UUW-207


  • 607-722-4256
  • Has a presence at VARCC

RISE shelter 

  • 607-754-4340