Stalking & Cyberstalking
If Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) unwanted contact. It can include visual or physical proximity, non-consensual communication (verbal, written, online), and/or implied threats that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Note that the victim does not have to state that they feel afraid in order for the perpetrator’s behavior to qualify as stalking. Victims may express fear through words or behaviors. If their level of discomfort leads them to change their behavioral patterns, alter the path they take to get from one point to another (ex: route from home to work), change their phone number, block the person, avoid certain people/places/situations, etc., then the threshold for “fear” has been reached.]
Cyberstalking is the use of technology to stalk, and can take many forms. It may include GPS tracking, spoofing devices, software to capture keystrokes, tracking on social media, email communication, text messaging, Direct Messaging, and other technological methods. The devices and software used for cyberstalking are constantly evolving.
If you suspect you are being stalked through technological means, it may not be safe for you to be on the internet. There are steps you can take to erase a trail of your internet surfing, but it cannot be completely untraceable. If you are in a remote location and feel it is safe for you to explore the internet, below are excellent resources providing safety information, strategies and resources if you are being stalked or cyberstalked, as well as general information.
A 2009 study (Kristina Baum, et. al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” Washington D.C., BJS: 2009) found that:
- 3.4 million people in the U.S. over age 18 experience stalking.
- 75% of victims are stalked by someone they know.
- Persons aged 18-24 experience the highest rates of stalking.
- 25% of stalking victims are monitored through technology (email, instant messaging, internet, etc.)
Current information about statistics and national resources are available at the Stalking Prevention, Awareness & Resource Center (SPARC), including fact sheets on Stalking, Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking and Sexual Assault.
Cyberstalking & Stalking Resources:
Delaware Stalking Law (§ 1312)
Working to Halt Abuse Online
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse