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The Unsettling Truth About Stalking: A Comprehensive Look- Awareness & Stalking Response

Updated: Apr 6

Stalking is a pervasive issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide. This article delves into the intricacies of stalking, exploring its definition, the motivations behind it, and the impact it has on victims. We will also discuss the legal aspects of stalking and provide resources for those who may be experiencing this unsettling behavior.

The Unsettling Truth About Stalking: A Comprehensive Look- Awareness & Stalking Response

The Unsettling Truth About Stalking: A Comprehensive Look- Awareness & Stalking Response
The Unsettling Truth About Stalking: A Comprehensive Look- Awareness & Stalking Response

What is Stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of behavior characterized by unwanted and repeated contact or attention that causes the recipient to feel threatened or fearful. This can take many forms, including persistent phone calls, text messages, emails, or social media messages; showing up at the victim's home, workplace, or other frequented locations; and even physical or sexual assault.

Current Stalking Statistics

In the United States, stalking is a serious issue that affects millions of people. According to recent data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have been stalked at some point in their lives. That's a staggering number of people who have experienced the fear and anxiety that comes with being stalked.

  • About 1.3% (3.4 million) of all persons age 16 or older were victims of stalking in 2019.

  • The percentage of persons who experienced stalking declined from 1.5% in 2016 to 1.3% in 2019.

  • Less than a third (29%) of all stalking victims reported the victimization to police in 2019.

  • In 2019, females (1.8%) were stalked more than twice as often as males (0.8%).

  • In 2019, an estimated 67% of victims of both traditional stalking and stalking with technology were fearful of being killed or physically harmed.

The Motivations Behind Stalking

Understanding the motivations behind stalking can be complex, as each case is unique.

Some common reasons for stalking behavior include:

  • Obsession: The stalker may have an intense, irrational fixation on the victim, often stemming from rejection or unrequited love.

  • Control: Stalkers may attempt to control their victims by making them feel vulnerable and powerless.

  • Revenge: Some stalkers may seek revenge for perceived slights or wrongdoings.

  • Mental health issues: Certain mental health conditions, such as personality disorders or delusional disorders, can contribute to stalking behavior.

The Impact of Stalking on Victims

The effects of stalking can be devastating for victims, both psychologically and physically. Some common consequences include:

  • Anxiety and depression: Victims often experience heightened levels of anxiety and depression, which can lead to social isolation and decreased quality of life.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Many victims develop PTSD, a mental health condition characterized by intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and extreme fear.

  • Physical harm: In some cases, stalking can escalate to physical violence or sexual assault.

  • Financial strain: Victims may need to change jobs, relocate, or take other measures to protect themselves, which can result in significant financial burdens.

  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.

  • 29% of stalking victims fear it will never stop.

  • 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more.

  • 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization.

  • Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social

  • dysfunction than people in the general population.

Legal Aspects of Stalking

Stalking is a criminal offense in many jurisdictions, with varying degrees of severity depending on the specific actions and consequences. In the United States, for example, stalking is a felony in most states, punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both.

The Four Categories of Stalking

The four categories of stalking can be remembered with the acronym "SLII":

Surveillance: This is when a stalker keeps a close watch on their target, monitoring their movements, activities, and whereabouts. It's like having a personal paparazzi, but without the glamour and fame.

Life Invasion: This category involves the stalker invading the personal space and life of the target, such as showing up at their workplace, home, or social events uninvited. It's like having a surprise party, but without the cake and balloons.

Intimidation: Here, the stalker uses threats, fear, and intimidation tactics to control or manipulate the target. It's like playing a game of chess, but with the stakes being your peace of mind and safety.

Interference through Sabotage or Attack: In this category, the stalker actively tries to sabotage the target's relationships, career, or other aspects of their life. It's like having a frenemy, but without the "friend" part.

Who is Most at Risk of Stalking?

Women are still more likely to be victims of stalking than men, with data indicating that they experience it more than twice as often. In most cases, the victims know their stalkers. Young adults aged 18-24 are at the highest risk of being stalked, which raises concerns for the safety of students on college and university campuses.

What Should You Do If Your Being Stalked

If you're being stalked, it's important to take the situation seriously and take steps to protect yourself. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Document the stalking: Keep a record of all incidents, including dates, times, and details of the stalking behavior. This can be useful if you need to involve law enforcement or seek legal action.

  • Tell someone: It's important to let someone know what's happening. This could be a trusted friend, family member, or even a support group. They can provide emotional support and help keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

  • Contact the authorities: If you feel that you're in immediate danger, don't hesitate to contact the police. They can help you file a report and may be able to issue a restraining order against the stalker.

  • Take precautions: Be cautious when using social media and other online platforms. Avoid posting personal information or your location, and consider adjusting your privacy settings.

Seek support: It's important to take care of your mental health during this difficult time. Reach out to a therapist or a support group to help you cope with the emotional impact of being stalked.

Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you through this difficult time.

Resources for Victims of Stalking

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, it's essential to seek help. Some resources include:

  • Consider take a Counter Staling Training Course

  • DV Hotline

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: This 24/7 hotline provides confidential support and resources for victims of stalking and domestic violence.

  • VictimConnect: This resource offers information and referrals for victims of stalking and other crimes.

  • Local law enforcement: Contacting your local police department can help you understand your rights and options for protection.


Stalking is a serious issue that can have severe consequences for victims. By understanding the motivations behind this behavior and the impact it has on those affected, we can work towards creating a safer and more supportive environment for victims. If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, please reach out for help. Together, we can help put an end to this unsettling behavior.

Violence Prevention and Self Defense Resources

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self Defense (CVPSD) is a non profit 501(C)(3) with a mission to stop violence by educating at-risk people and empower them with the skills needed to protect themselves by providing online and live training. 

Through workshops and seminars we educate participants about violence prevention and guide them on assessing risk factors while establishing boundaries in relationships. Additionally practical self defense classes equip people with hands on skills and effective strategies to prevent and intervene in cases of assault. CVPSD reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.


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