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Stalking

Learn about stalking and how to find help for yourself or a friend.

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What is stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted action or contact that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear. Stalking is serious and can escalate over time.

A stalker can be someone who's a stranger to you, but most often it's someone you know. About 4 out of 5 women know their stalkers. Most often, stalkers are partners/ex-partners, classmates, acquaintances, friends, or co-workers.1 

Cyberstalking involves the use of the internet or technology to harass, intimidate, or keep track of someone. 

Cyberexploitation is the non-consensual distribution or publication of intimate photos or videos online. 

Common stalking behaviors

  • Repeated telephone calls to your home or office, including hanging up, voicemail messages, or text messages
  • Unsolicited gifts, cards, notes, letters, emails, or Internet communication
  • Repeated driving by or hanging around your home, school, or workplace
  • Vandalizing your home, car, or your personal possessions
  • Unexpected appearances at places you frequent (e.g., work, grocery store, gym, school)
  • Threatening to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
  • Searching public and private records, going through your mail or garbage, or contacting your friends and family to gain your personal information
  • Other actions that may scare, track, or harass/intimidate you

When it happens to you

Stalking is an unpredictable, dangerous, and traumatic experience that can cause considerable stress and anxiety. No two stalking experiences are alike and victims with similar experiences can react to stalking in different ways.

It is important to remember that you are not to blame for a stalker's behavior.

Common reactions to being stalked can include:

  • Intense feelings of fear or terror
  • Feeling vulnerable, unsafe, and unable to trust people
  • Anxiety, irritability, and anger
  • Avoiding school, work, or your friends and family
  • Sadness, hopelessness, and crying
  • Feeling confused, frustrated, or isolated because others don't understand why you're afraid

Find help

If you're in immediate danger, call 911 immediately.

If you're a UC San Diego student (undergraduate, graduate, or international student), staff, or faculty, call CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center, (858) 534-5793, and we can provide you with free and confidential* counseling, help devising a safety plan, and referral to other services, including seeking a protective order.

If you are a friend, partner, or family member of someone who was sexually assaulted, you are welcome to call our office and find out what resources are available for you, too. You'll need support so you can continue to help your loved one.

*All communications with users of CARE services are privileged and confidential under California Evidence Code Sections 1010-1027, 1035.2 and 1037.2. Accordingly, employees in the CARE Office are not mandatory reporters under Title IX or the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

Hotlines

  • San Diego County Stalking Hotline, (619) 515-8900
  • National Center for Victims of Crime Hotline, 1-800-FYI-CALL (394-2255); Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. EST

Online resources


1 Fisher, Bonnie S., Francis T. Cullen and Michael G. Turner, Research Report “The Sexual Victimization of College Women.” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, NCJ 182369, December 2000.