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Violence Intervention Services

Harassment vs. Stalking

When talking informally with our friends, we might call someone a “stalker” if they seem obsessively interested in us, if they call too frequently, if they invade our personal space, or if they just don’t seem to get the message that we’re not “interested” in them.  This broad use of the word “stalking” seems to have originated in the tabloid press to describe celebrities who endured a range of disturbing behavior by obsessed fans.

Both harassment and stalking are criminal offenses. Because the behaviors overlap, many victims are uncertain which law(s) apply.  However, you do not need to know which law(s) apply in order to seek help and support.  If someone else’s behavior makes you feel alarmed, intimidated, embarrassed, or annoyed, there are many resources available.  Harassment also violates state law and University policy.