As a parent, your instincts are to protect your child, but what happens when your son or daughter goes off to college and encounters a dangerous situation such as stalking? Here are some surprising stalking statistics and advice for parents and their students for dealing with this potentially dangerous interaction. Learn more on College Stalking Statistics Now!
What is a stalker? A stalker is defined as a person who pursues or harasses another individual, often in an aggressive, threatening, or illegal manner. Mental illness often touches the stalker, leading them to believe that their focused behavior is sane and logical. Because the stalker is operating under a different set of societal rules, he has the potential to become dangerous.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, the reported numbers of men and women who are stalked annually are staggering. 1,006,970 women and 370,000 men are stalked each year in the United States. Two thirds of female victims were stalked by a known party, such as a current or former intimate partner, and men were stalked mostly by an intimate partner or acquaintance.
College campuses are filled with stories of victims who report being stalked and who live with anxiety and fear. Stalking statistics show that the most common consequence of campus stalking is the psychological damage. However, in over 15% of the incidents reported, victims claimed that the stalker threatened physical harm. In another 10%, victims reported forced or attempted sexual contact. These facts are enough to terrify a parent, but there are ways for your student to manage their potentially dangerous situation.
Once your student is sure that they are indeed being stalked and not just receiving unwanted attention for a few days, it is wise to keep a log for evidence of all contact. If the situation should escalate, and your student wants to go to the authorities, the log will provide proof of the stalker’s history of harassment. Until a law has been broken, or harm has been done, most authorities cannot help your student, so a log is essential to provide the foundation for a criminal stalking case. College students are vulnerable due to their youth and campus exposure to a large number of peers.
Campus stalking victims are primarily between 18-29 years of age. Stalking statistics show that more than 13% of college women report having been stalked during at least one of their college years. Four in five campus victims knew their attacker and 25% of incidents involved cyberstalking.
As social media and smartphones become the wave of the future, cyberstalking becomes a very real problem. A stalker has the ability to view photos and posts about activities, interests, and emotions. When a stalker obsesses over someone online, and has frequent interaction with their victim, often the stalking escalates to violent crimes such as robbery, murder, or suicide. Because of the probability of the stalker having a mental illness, it is important to be alert and stay safe at all times.
The stalker needs to be treated delicately because violence often occurs after their advances are refused. Once identified, it is important to remain as far away from the stalker as possible and to ensure solitary adventures do not take place.
Going out with a group of friends is the safest way to socialize, and staying near public places that are well lit with lots of people will hinder unwanted attention. Also, students must remain vigilant in keeping doors and windows locked on their cars and places of residence. Keeping a cell phone fully charged and nearby can be helpful, and having pepper spray or a panic device may prove beneficial. It is imperative to keep a log and document all interaction whether in person or online. This will provide the authorities with the stalker’s identity, pattern of behavior, intentions, and level of crime.
For more information about stalking and bullying in general, visit www.nobullying.com. Bullying and stalking are problems that should be identified and handled immediately. Some children and young adults don’t report the problem because they feel it is a personal matter and don’t realize the importance of involving parents or authority figures. As parents, it is vital to keep communication open and freely discuss potential dangers of the world while providing solutions.