Studies suggest that stalking may be more prevalent on college and university campuses than in the general community. Stalking can be disruptive, upsetting, and even dangerous. It is important for students to know what stalking behaviors are and how to help a friend who is being stalked.
What Is Stalking?
Arizona defines stalking as:
A. A person commits stalking if the person intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct that is directed toward another person and if that conduct either:
1. Would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of that person's immediate family member and that person in fact fears for their safety or the safety of that person's immediate family member.
2. Would cause a reasonable person to fear physical injury to or death of that person or that person's immediate family member and that person in fact fears physical injury to or death of that person or that person's immediate family member.
B. Stalking under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is a class 5 felony. Stalking under subsection A, paragraph 2 is a class 3 felony.
C. For the purposes of this section:
1. "Course of conduct" means maintaining visual or physical proximity to a specific person or directing verbal, written or other threats, whether express or implied, to a specific person on two or more occasions over a period of time, however short, but does not include constitutionally protected activity.
2. "Immediate family member" means a spouse, parent, child or sibling or any other person who regularly resides in a person's household or resided in a person's household within the past six months.
How To Help A Friend Who Is Being Stalked
- Talk, listen, respect, and be emotionally available
- Accept the fact that the stalking is happening. Don’t minimize the behaviors that have occurredUnderstand that it is not your friend’s fault
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Let your friend talk about his or her fears, but don't force a discussion
- If you know the stalker, do not share any information with him or her about the victim. Do state your desire for his or her behavior to stop. Be firm.
- Do not attempt to moderate between the victim and the stalker
- Offer shelter if possible, but know and communicate your limits about your own safety and needs
- Educate yourself on stalking and services available
- Talk with people you can trust and take care of your own emotional/physical health
How can I respond when I think my friend is stalking someone?
- If you feel safe enough, say something to your friend. Be honest and direct, while not automatically accusing the individual.
- If you do not feel it is safe for you to say something, get to a safe place and call UAPD or the local police.
- Speak up; do not be persuaded to do nothing by assuming others will say or do something about the situation or be thinking it is none of your business.
- If you are not sure if the behavior constitutes stalking, call the Oasis Program to consult about what you have noticed.
- Know and share resources with your friend (i.e., counseling services).
- Be patient and do not hesitate to bring the subject up several times with your friend (if needed and you feel comfortable).
- Remember to take care of yourself, as these situations can take a toll on everyone involved
- Do something. Do not assume that the symptoms of your friend’s behavior are isolated or are not “that big of a deal.” Even seemingly small behavioral signs can be a part of a bigger issue.
On-Campus: OASIS Sexual Assault and Trauma Services