Respect Boundaries

Stalking

What is stalking?

To engage in a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person or a family or household member of such person with the intent to injure, terrify, threaten, or intimidate. It can include the use of regular mail, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, posting on social websites and/or faxes.  Stalking and cyber stalking are considered crimes and such behaviors are prohibited by University policy and Nebraska law.

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous.  No two stalking situations are alike and anyone can be a victim, including college students from any economic, ethnic, or religious group.

The vast majority of stalking victims know their stalker, usually because they have had a relationship with him or her.  The stalker can be an intimate partner or former partner, classmate, roommate, or other acquaintance.  A victim can be stalked for several days or for many years.  The stalker’s actions can also affect family, friends, and coworkers. 

Associated State of Nebraska Statues: 

  • Statute 28-311.01 – Terroristic Threats – Any person who threatens to commit any crime of violence with the intent to terrorize another
  • Statute 28-311.02 and  28-311.03 – Stalking and harassment - Any person who willfully harasses another person or a family or household member of such person with the intent to injure, terrify, threaten, or intimidate commits the offense of stalking.

Signs Stalkers can demonstrate:

  • Repeatedly calling and texting you, including hang-ups.
  • Following you and showing up wherever you are.
  • Sending unwanted gifts, letters, cards or e-mails.
  • Do damage to your home, car or other property.
  • Monitoring your phone calls, computer use or social network accounts.
  • Hack into your social networking accounts or e-mail. (see how to protect yourself on Facebook here)
  • Use technology like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS) to track where you go.
  • Drive by or hang out at your apartment/residence hall, outside your classroom or at your work.
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends or pets.
  • Finding out more about you by using public records or online search services, hiring private investigators or going through your garbage or contacting your friends, classmates, family, neighbors or co-workers.

What you should do if you are being stalked?

  • If you are in IMMEDIATE DANGER, call 911
  • Contact University Police to file a report. They can assist you with understanding and taking action if the stalker has broken the law. Remember, every state has stalking laws, including Nebraska. If you don't want to contact the Police alone, consider contacting the UNK Women's Center, UNK Counseling Care or Safe Center for assistance.
  • Keep EVIDENCE by documenting the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, keep a log of the time, date, place and other details you may find of importance. Keep all e-mails, phone messages, letters, notes or social media messages. Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries they may cause. Keep a list of any witnesses to the incidents. Ask witnesses to also write down what they saw. Keeping this information will be very beneficial if you decide to get a protection order.
  • Don't COMMUNICATE with the stalker or respond to their attempts to contact you. Communicating with them will only encourage them to continue.
  • Develop a SAFETY PLAN. Include things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your apartment/residence hall, classroom, work or somewhere else. Let your friends know how they can help you. The Women's Center, Counseling Center or Safe Center can assist in helping you devise a personal safety plan, provide you with information about local laws and University policies and provide support and advocacy. Example safety plan
  • Tell FAMILY, FRIENDS and OTHERS YOU TRUST about the stalking and seek their support.
  • Get CAMPUS SUPPORT. The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed. There are many services on campus that are here to offer you support.
  • Trust your INSTINCTS. Don't downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are. Take THREATS seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about harming themselves or someone else, or when a victim/survivor tries to leave or end a relationship.

How to Help a Friend

  • If your friend tells you they are being stalked: Believe them. Your friend needs to be believed and supported. It is never the fault of the victim for being stalked. Stalking has nothing to do with the victim's behavior, actions or the reality of the situation.
  • Support and understanding are essential. Stalking, like relationship abuse and sexual assault can cause depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, sleeping problems etc… Let your friend talk as much as or as little as they need to. It is important that you listen and believe them.
  • Do not respond to the stalker. Any response from you can be misinterpreted by the stalker and may even encourage that stalker. Contact with the stalker can put you or your friend in further danger.
  • Advise your friend to keep evidence and document everything. You can also document any incidence of stalking that you witness. Tell your friend to keep a log of the time, date, place and other details they may find of importance. Tell them to keep all e-mails, phone messages, letters, notes or social media messages. Tell them to photograph any damages to their personal possessions and any injuries they may have incurred.
  • Respect Privacy. Stalkers can be very clever about getting information so do not give any information out about your friend, no matter what the stalker might say.
  • Help them feel safe. Offer to spend time with your friend so they do not have to be alone.
  • Refer your friend to the Women’s Center, Counseling Care or Safety Center. They can assist you in helping your friend devise a personal safety plan, provide them with information about local laws and University policies, and provide support and advocacy. They can assess the situation and refer your friend to counseling, legal aid, provide an escort on campus and they can be a safe place on campus where their needs will be heard and responded to.
  • Get Support for Yourself. Sometimes the friends of victims can also feel the impact of the crime and experience emotional and physical reactions. This is called secondary victimization. Hearing about stalking can be upsetting. You may feel angry, sad, frustrated and helpless. If you have experienced crime or other traumatic events in the past, your friend’s experience might bring up memories and feelings of that time. You may want to talk about your feelings but also respect your friend’s privacy. You can contact the Women’s Center, Counseling Care or Safe Center to speak to an advocate confidentially.