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Prevent Like a Bearcat: Stalking: What It Is & Where To Get Support

Practical information about dating/domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. What it is. What to do.

Stalking happens more often that people think. If you have experienced this, you are not alone. And healing is possible.

Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Two or more incidents make a pattern. However, definitions vary from state to state. It is important to be familiar with state laws about stalking. Stalking is illegal in every state and in Washington, D.C.

Context is key regarding stalking. Many stalkers' behaviors can seem innocuous or even desireable to outsiders. For example, many people might think that things such as sending flowers, an expensive gift, or dropping by to visit someone at their classroom or workplace may not seem scary. A stalker's actions may not appear scary to the outsider and may be hard for the victim to explain. 



Does stalking happen a lot?

Stalking impacts 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the United States.

Kentucky consistently has the highest or second highest rates of stalking among women, with 25% of women being stalked at some point in their lifetimes. Women 18-24 are at the highest risk of being stalked.


What are some examples of stalking?

Stalkers use a variety of tactics, including (but not limited to) unwanted contact such as

  • phone calls
  • texts
  • social media
  • gifts
  • showing up/approaching an individual
  • approaching or contacting someone's family or friends
  • monitoring & surveillance
  • property damage
  • threats

Stalking somtimes overlaps with dating/domestic violence and sexual abuse/assault. Stalking occurs sometimes as part the abuse in dating/domestic violence and can be part of the dynamics in sexual abuse or sexual assult.

The Stalking Prevention and Awareness Resource Center (SPARC) is a national, federally-funded project that provides education and resources about the crime of stalking. On SPARC's website, victims, their friends & family, and professionals can access a range of comprehensive resources such as

  • fact sheets, infographics
  • brochures, posters
  • stalking documentation log
  • Stalking & Harassment Assessment & Risk Profile (SHARP)

Click here to go to the SPARC website.

Click here to go to the free Stalking and Harassment Assessment and Risk Profile (SHARP).

Click here for SPARC's free Stalking Incident and Behavior Log for College Students.

You are resilient.

Safety Planning

Many people who have experienced stalking feel that it is helpful to have a safety plan in place for themselves. Consider creating a safety plan for yourself if you need to.

You can also use the resources from SPARC (Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center) included on this page.

Click here to learn more about making a safety plan. You can also learn more by clicking on the tab above - Safety Planning: Being Safer and Feeling Safer.