Harassment vs. Stalking
When talking informally with our friends, we might call someone a “stalker” if they seem obsessively interested in us, if they call too frequently, if they invade our personal space, or if they just don’t seem to get the message that we’re not “interested” in them. This broad use of the word “stalking” seems to have originated in the tabloid press to describe celebrities who endured a range of disturbing behavior by obsessed fans.
Both harassment and stalking are criminal offenses. Because the behaviors overlap, many victims are uncertain which law(s) apply. However, you do not need to know which law(s) apply in order to seek help and support. If someone else’s behavior makes you feel alarmed, intimidated, embarrassed, or annoyed, there are many resources available.
What should I do if I’m being harassed?
It is crucial that harassment victims maintain a log of what has happened to them. Recording this detailed information will help to justify the need for a restraining order, and if the case leads to a trial, these logs will help you recall specific details about incidents that may have happened some time ago.
- This log should be used to document all harassing behavior, including phone calls, e-mails, letters, property destruction, and threats, including those communicated through someone else.
- When reporting the incidents to law enforcement, always write down the officer's name and badge number for your own records. Even if the officers do not make an arrest, you can ask them to make a written report and request a copy for your records.
- Since this information could potentially be introduced as evidence or inadvertently shared with the harasser at a future time, do not include any information that you do not want him/her to see.
- Attach a photograph of the harasser, photocopies of restraining orders, police reports, and other relevant documents. Keep the log in a safe place and tell someone you trust where you keep the log.
The Wellness Resource Lab, located on the 1st floor of the Wellness Recreation Center in Room 104, includes a resource library with many books, videos, cassettes, pamphlets and newsletters on a variety of health and wellness topics. There is also a special section for Violence Intervention Resources .
Checking out materials is free and you may keep these materials for two weeks.
If you have concerns about accessing materials from the Wellness Lab in person, please contact Violence Intervention Services staff member Mark Rowe-Barth to make confidential material check-out arrangements.