Taking Care of Yourself
Develop a support system. Keep in touch with friends who are supportive and understanding. Tell someone about each encounter with the stalker. You can call your resident assistant, or the counseling center for support.
You may want to seek assistance. You may begin to experience rage, terror, suspicion, and inability to trust anyone, depression, changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns, exhaustion, and/or frequent crying spells, etc. You are not going crazy. Your body and mind are reacting to the extreme stress caused by the continuing victimization. Talking to someone who is trained to work with victims and survivors may help alleviate some of the symptoms that are interfering in other aspects of your life.
Psychological Effects on Victim/Survivors Include:
- Inability to trust
- Changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
- Exhaustion and/or frequent crying spells
- Inability to concentrate on your schoolwork
- Declining academic performance
- The college campus is a stalker’s dream because it is a closed environment and it is easy to get a student’s schedule. A student’s movements are predictable and access to residences as well as to academic buildings may be easy for the stalker.
- Tell the stalker once that you do not want to have any contact with him or her. Be firm. Don’t engage in further conversation or debate. The stalker would love to keep you involved in conversation and may try to manipulate your emotions to get you to continue communicating with him or her.
- Talk to someone. Go to the University Police, Counseling Center, Dean of Students, or OASIS for assistance.
- Never leave your dorm room unlocked, even if you are inside the room. Think safety.
- Some stalkers prey on students by E-mail. If you are a victim of unwanted E-mail communication, contact the campus police.
- Other tools stalkers use on college campuses are the telephone, the Internet, peers, fitness centers, clubs, and advertisements for models.
- Obtain a post office box, and have the post office send mail to your new post office box. Report threats sent by mail to the FBI.
- Give your address and phone number to as few people as possible. Get an unlisted telephone number. Use an answering machine and use it to screen your calls. Consider getting the Caller ID option from the local phone company. Report threatening phone calls to the telephone company and the local police every time they occur.
- Trace your calls: Use *69, call trace (directly after call), if off-campus and available in your area. If on-campus, while the caller is still on the line, click to hang up, touch *57 (call trace), then click back over to the caller. You may then hang up at any time. Immediately after the call, phone the police to report the call and have them trace the number.
- Form a contingency plan. Keep all critical phone numbers handy. Keep a packed suitcase in the trunk of the car, or in a ready location for quick departure. Keep reserve money handy. Keep gas in the car and back up keys with a friend you trust.
- Inform professional organizations that they are to provide no one with information about you.
- Seek a trespass warning from your local police.
- Lock all doors at home, in the dorm, and in your car. Use dead bolt locks whenever possible.
- If you are being followed, go to a safe area, DO NOT DRIVE HOME. Drive to the nearest police station or a busy place. Use your horn to attract attention.
- If you move, don’t leave a “paper trail.” Don’t have anything forwarded to your new address.
The Counseling Center offers after-hours on-campus emergency coverage (when school is in session) for trauma and life-threatening situations such as suicide and sexual assault. To activate the system, call the Campus Police Department at 262-2150.