“I wake up every morning wondering if this is the day I will die at the hands of my stalker. I spend the day looking over my shoulder for him. I jump every time the phone rings. I can’t sleep at night from worrying. When I do sleep, I have nightmares of him. I can’t escape him for a minute. I never have a moment’s peace awake or asleep.” (NVAW, 2001)

Stalking refers to repeated harassing or threatening behavior putting a person in fear, such as:

  • Following a person
  • Making harassing phone calls
  • Appearing at a person’s home or work
  • Leaving messages or objects
  • Vandalizing a person’s property (NVAW, 2001)

1 out of every 12 US women will be stalked at some time in her lifetime. (NVAW, 2001)

3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States. (The National Center for Victims of Crime)

30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. (The National Center for Victims of Crime)

87% of stalking perpetrators are male. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)

Of all the women who were stalked by a current or former partner, 81% had also been assaulted by the partner, and 31% were also sexually assaulted by the partner. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)

Only half of stalking victims reported their case to law enforcement, of those, only one quarter of the cases resulted in arrest. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)

Cyber-stalking is one of the latest variants of stalking behavior. In these scenarios, the stalker utilizes electronic mediums such as the Internet to pursue, harass, and intimidate another.

Cyber-stalking usually occurs with women stalked by men, or children who are stalked by adult predators. Cyber-stalking victims are typically new online, and inexperienced with the rules of online etiquette. Cyber-predators count on the sense of security that children feel at home to lull children to let down their guard. There is a sense of intimacy online that cyber-predators take advantage of to convince children they are not strangers at all.

Online Safety Tips for Children

  1. Keep the computer in a central family location, not in the child’s room.
  2. Get to know your children’s online friends, as you would with a friend from the neighborhood.
  3. Screen email with young children. Many pedophiles attach child pornography to messages.
  4. Use child protection software to monitor your child’s computing when you are unable to.
  5. Make sure children understand they should never meet anyone in real life that they met on the Internet without parents in attendance and that people online are sometimes dishonest about who or what they are. (, 2001)

Stalking is a major problem affecting our culture. It is part of a continuum of violence that inflicts fear, violence and death. If you or someone you know is being stalked, please contact Sexual Trauma Services as soon as possible.