Stalking is a set or series of monitoring behaviors directed toward someone specific that causes fear, distress or danger for the victim. This behavior is serious and can incorporate violence and escalation across time. January is Stalking Awareness Month and Dallas College is hosting a series of events to educate and inform the public about ways to keep yourself and others safe.
According to the Stalking, Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC), between 6% to 39% of college students will report being stalked since starting college. Specific populations are at a higher risk of encountering stalking: women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, younger students in the college population and students with disabilities. Most victims will be stalked by someone they already know. Most commonly, people exhibiting stalking behavior are former intimate partners, but can also be general acquaintances, friends, classmates and current intimate partners. SPARC reports that the most common stalking behaviors are unwanted calls and text messages, followed by unwanted social media or technology-based outreaches, followed by unwanted presence or following at places where a person exhibiting stalking behavior was not invited or wanted.
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Stalking is comprised of behaviors that cause fear and distress in its victims and includes anything meant to control, track, scare or intimidate. See list below:
- Repeated calls/hang-ups or texts
- Following someone
- Unwanted gifts
- Tracking via technology
- Showing up at a victim’s home, school or work
- Destroying property
- Spreading rumors or information
- Revenge pornography or threats of such
- Harassing people in a victim’s social, work or family circles
- Finding and collecting personal information about a victim via online presence or even through discarded items/trash
- Hacking into their personal online accounts
- Impersonating a victim online
- Threats of violence towards a victim or their friends, coworkers, loved ones or pets.
This list of examples is not exhaustive.
Stalking has impacts beyond the distress and fear to the victims. It may cause academic difficulties, missed tests, assignments and exams, leaving, or avoiding extracurricular activities or social gatherings, dropping courses, even withdrawing from school and having to change living environments. These impacts are significant and directly challenge a student’s ability to be successful in school.
As we embark upon this month, know that there are resources available to assist you, a friend, a family member or a classmate should they encounter stalking behavior.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY)
- The National Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474
- The Victim Connect Resource Center online, by calling/texting 1-855-484-2846, or through online chat.
- The National Crime Victim Bar Association for an attorney referral in cases of stalking.
- Free legal assistance is available to victims of stalking and intimate partner violence at the Texas Advocacy Project Hope Line: 800-374-HOPE (4673) or at the Texas Advocacy Project.
- The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program for assistance from the Texas Attorney General’s office.
- Additional resources are available through the College Alliance Against Sexual Assault (CAASA) and the Centers for Disease Control.
Dallas College students, employees and campus visitors are encouraged to report incidents of stalking or intimate partner violence on campus to the Dallas College Police. You can call 911 from a campus phone, call the campus police dispatch at 972-860-4290 using a mobile phone or non-campus phone, or text DCCCD to 67283. Remember that calling 911 from your mobile phone will contact the local police and not necessarily campus police who can reach you sooner. Be prepared to provide your location, such as a room number and building. Dallas College Police can also escort you to your car and help give your car’s battery a jump start in case of car trouble while on campus.
You can also download the Rave Guardian app at Apple App store and Google Play store. Rave Guardian allows you to let campus police know your location and electronically escort you to your car. It also provides another means to contact the campus police dispatch.
While you’re reading this, consider programming the campus police dispatch number into your cell phone so you’ll have it ready if an emergency arises on campus. Or consider downloading and exploring the Rave Guardian app.
Professional counselors are available throughout the Dallas College campuses for confidential mental health counseling sessions. Email email@example.com to request an appointment. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team is available for currently enrolled students aged 18 or older in need of confidential, mental health counseling services. Counseling appointments are available both virtually and on campus. Learn more about CAPS services.
This material was written by a Dallas College licensed counselor. All views expressed in this piece are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dallas College.