Grand Valley State University Women's Center

If You Are Being Stalked

If you are being stalked, the following are a few steps to consider taking in order to better protect yourself.

  • Remember, do not blame yourself! You are not the criminal, you are the victim
  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911
  • Notify the stalker to stop through a "No Contact" statement
  • If that does not work, notify the police or school administration
  • Tell someone. Alert friends, coworkers, family, or neighbors to the situation and provide them with a picture of the stalker
  • Do not attempt to communicate with the stalker. Do not accept gifts, etc., as the stalker may perceive this as encouragement
  • Develop a support system
  • Never underestimate the stalker's potential for violence
  • Document the stalker's behavior
  • Use an answering machine to screen calls
  • If you are being followed, do not drive home--go to a safe place

Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime

"No Contact" Sample Statements

  • "I'm not interested in having a relationship with you. Do not continue to call, stop by or have any contact with me whatsoever."
  • "I am ending our relationship. Do not make any attempt to try and renew it. I will not change my mind. I do not wish to have any contact with you now or in the future. If you try to contact me, I will report you to school administration or take legal action."

Source: University of California Santa Barbara Women's Center Web site

Contingency/Safe Plans

While a victim may not be in imminent danger, the potential always exists. Therefore, a contingency plan (a sort of "fire escape plan") may be appropriate.

Suggested considerations include:

  • Knowledge of, and quick access to, critical telephone numbers, including law enforcement numbers and locations; safe places (such as friends, domestic violence shelters, etc.); and contact numbers for use after safety is secured (such as neighbors/family, attorneys, prosecutors, medical care, child care, pet care, etc.)
  • Keep an accessible reserve of necessities, including a small packed suitcase in the trunk of your vehicle, or at another readily accessible location, for quick departure; reserve money; other necessities, such as creditors' numbers and personal welfare items such as medication, birth certificates, social security information, passports, etc.; and miscellaneous items, such as always keeping a full tank of gas in your vehicle, backup keys for neighbors, etc.
  • Alert critical people to the situation who may be useful in formulating a contingency plan, such as law enforcement; employers; family, friends, or neighbors; and security personnel

Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime

These are preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of being a victim.

Preventative Measures

  • Never give your name, phone number or address to anyone over the Internet. Be especially cautious in using pictures and screen names that identify you by name and give insight into your location, particularly on pages such as Facebook and Myspace
  • Vary the times, places and durations of your daily routine
  • Maintain unlisted/private information
  • Pay attention to obsessive or possessive behaviors in those you date
  • When you break up with someone, make a clean break, and take caution not to lead anyone on. Understand there is a difference between leading someone on and someone not accepting the relationship is over. Trust your instincts.

Source: 2004 Texas A & M Women & Gender Equity Resource Center fact sheet

Documentation

Documentation of stalking should be saved and given to law enforcement and save all written material given or sent to you by the stalker. Take caution in accepting gifts or presents as evidence. Keeping such items might serve as encouragement to the stalker.

Reporting Options

  • Alert local law enforcement or campus public safety
  • File a complaint with the Dean of Student's Office
  • Seek a personal protection order from the local circuit court
  • Seek support or guidance from the Campus Counseling Center, the Women's Center, or a local relationship violence agency
  • Notify the stalker to stop.

Personal Protection Orders (Restraining/Stay Away)

Additionally, if you need assistance or have more questions regarding the process, contact GVSU Public Safety at (616) 331-3255 or the Women's Center at (616) 331-2748.

Personal protection orders (PPO) will not only help you maintain your safety, but also shows police to enforce anti-stalking laws. In addition, the penalties intensify if the stalker violates a restraining order.

According to Michigan law, MCL 552.14; 600.2950; 600.2950a, a victim of assault or stalking may obtain a PPO to restrain the person who committed the offense from doing one or more of the following:

  • Entering onto premises
  • Assaulting, beating, molesting, or wounding the victim
  • Threatening to kill or physically injure the victim
  • Removing minor children from the person having legal custody in violation of a custody or parenting time order issued by the court
  • Engaging in stalking behavior
  • Purchasing or possessing a firearm
  • Interfering with the victim's efforts to remove the victim's children or personal property from premises solely owned or leased by the person to be restrained
  • Harassing or interfering with the petitioner at his or her place of employment
  • Any other specific act or conduct that interferes with personal liberty or that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence

A personal protection order is effective immediately and instantly enforceable anywhere in Michigan when signed by the judge. PPOs are at a judge's discretion and are not guaranteed. Also, these orders are not foolproof. They can be violated by a stalker, so it is a good idea to utilize preventative measures and contingency plans. If the stalker violates the PPO, contact the police immediately to have it documented.

PPO can be sought and obtained by the Circuit Court. In Kent County, contact the 17th Circuit Court, and in Ottawa County, contact the 20th Circuit Court. The following is a link to the 17th Circuit Court's Web site, which will give a detailed description of the process and what to expect.

http://www.accesskent.com/CourtsAndLawEnforcement/17thCircuitCourt/17cc_ppo.htm

  • Documentation of the actions of the perpetrator may be useful in future complaints or proceedings, for evidentiary or credibility purposes
  • Documentation may take the form of photos of destroyed property/vandalism, photos of any injuries inflicted on the victim by the perpetrator, answering machine messages saved on tape, letters or notes written by the perpetrator, etc.
  • Keep a written log of any crimes or suspicious activities committed by the perpetrator. Discretion should be used when making entries and it should be kept in a secured place, as the log may be used in court proceedings

Download a Stalking Incident Log here

http://www.miottawa.org/CourtsLE/Prosecutor/pdf/DVStalkingAssaultGuide.pdf

Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime

Page last modified January 2, 2013