What is Stalking?

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated visual or physical proximity; nonconsensual communication; verbal, written, or implied threats; or a combination thereof that would cause fear in a reasonable person. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)

Stalking generally refers to harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of employment, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a persons property.

Legal definitions of stalking vary widely from state to state.

ND Century Code 12.1-17-07.1.

Stalking- to engage in an intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person which frightens, intimidates, or harasses that person, and that serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct may be directed toward that person or a member of that person's immediate family and must cause a reasonable person to experience fear, intimidation, or harassment.

Stalking facts

Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” (Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).

Judith McFarlane et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4 (1999).

Katrina Baum et al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009).

Eric Blauuw et al., “The Toll of Stalking,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence,17, no. 1 (2002):50-63.

Common Stalker Characteristics

Types of Stalkers

Simple Obsessional-
Virtually all domestic violence cases involving stalking fall under this category. The victim can be an ex-spouse, ex-lover, former boss, or co-worker. In each of these cases, obsessional activities begin after the relationship has gone sour or the stalker perceives mistreatment by the victim. The stalker campaigns to rectify the relationship or seeks some type of retribution. This is the type of stalker in 60% of all cases. They tend to be the most dangerous.

Love Obsessional-
This stalker is a stranger to the victim. They develop a love obsession or fixation on another person with whom they have no personal relationship. The stalker mounts a campaign of harassment to make the victim aware of their existence. The love obsessional stalker not only attempts to live out their fantasies, but expects their victims to play their assigned roles. They believe they can make their object of affection love them back. This is the type of stalker in 30% of all cases.

The erotomanic stalker, usually female, has the delusional belief that they are passionately loved by another. They go to great lengths to contact the person of their delusion, usually a person of higher socio-economic class and status, or an unattainable public figure. These stalkers are often described as celebrity stalkers or obsessed fans. This is the least common type of stalker.

Feelings Experienced by Victims of Stalkers

  • Acceptance/Denial.
  • Aggression.
  • Anger/Rage.
  • Anxious/Hyper vigilance.
  • Fear/Terror.
  • Depression/Withdrawn.
  • Guilt.
  • Helplessness/Incapacitated.
  • Integrating life change.
  • Isolated.
  • Kindness/Pity.
  • Loss of short-term memory.
  • Minimization/Rationalization.
  • Mistrust.
  • Mourning loss of security.
  • Paranoid/Hunted/Suspicious.
  • Permanently distracted.
  • Powerlessness/Vulnerable.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, contact your local domestic violence program, law enforcement agency or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800)-799-SAFE(7233)

    For further information, resources materials, etc. contact:
    ND Council on Abused Women's Services/
    Coalition Against Sexual Assault
    418 East Rosser Avenue, #320
    Bismarck, ND 58501-4046
    888-255-6240 or 701-255-6240

    The National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center
    Stalking Resource Center Brochure
    Stalking Victimization in the United States
    Stalking Fact Sheet