Stalking Isn’t Romantic, It’s a Crime

During National Stalking Awareness Month this January, RAINN is bringing attention to different forms of stalking and some warning signs that you may be experiencing stalking.

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, or contact intended to cause fear or harm. Stalking behavior may include:

  • Repeated phone calls, texts, communication on social media, or unwanted gifts.
  • Threatening someone or their loved ones.
  • Following someone or watching them from a distance.
  • Digital harassment, such as tracking someone’s location through an app or showing up at a place they’ve checked into online.

Laws around stalking vary from state to state. To learn about the laws in your area, visit the Stalking Resource Center.

“The majority of stalking is perpetrated by someone the victim knows, often a current or former romantic partner. Whether it’s in-person or online, stalking is never acceptable behavior,” says Keeli Sorensen, RAINN’s vice president of victim services. “If someone asks multiple times where you are or who you’re with, closely monitors your digital or social media presence, or shows up unannounced to your home or workplace, these are signs that you may be experiencing stalking.”

To learn more about stalking and how to support survivors, check out these additional resources: Talking with survivors, making a safety plan, information about online stalking, a list of national resources for survivors and loved ones, and Marianne’s story.

“If you feel afraid of someone or are wondering if you are being stalked, the best thing to do is to trust your instincts,” says Sorensen. To get support and develop a safety plan, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE(4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org. It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7.

Sorensen continues, “It can also be a good idea to start documenting the behavior and file a report with your local law enforcement. This can help establish a criminal case later."

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