Stalking and cyber stalking are behaviors prohibited by Massachusetts law. In Massachusetts such conduct are felonies. M.G.L. c. 265 43. Stalking includes a willful and malicious knowing pattern of conduct or acts over a period of time (3 or more incidents) directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys the person and which causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury.
Stalking can be accomplished by mail, telephone, electronic mail, internet communications, and facsimile. Conduct which does not include a threat of death or bodily injury is also illegal and considered harassment by STCC policy and Massachusetts law. M.G.L. c. 265 43A.
Anyone experiencing stalking is encouraged to report it to the STCC Police Department in Building 9 or by calling 413-755-4220.
Students, staff and faculty may turn to a Title IX administrator (available to receive reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination, including stalking) listed in the Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault for help in dealing with incidents of stalking or harassment. The Title IX administrator can be found at STCC Human Resources in Building 16. This conduct can be reported to the Title IX Coordinator in the Human Resources Office 413-755-4454.
Student Rights and Responsibilities related to Stalking and Harassment can be viewed at the Students Affairs website.
WHAT IS STALKING?
Stalking is defined as threats, along with repeated harassing behavior, such as:
- Following a person
- Appearing at a person's home, class or work
- Making harassing phone calls and e-mails
- Leaving written messages or objects
- Vandalizing a person's property
It can include the use of regular mail, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, posting on social websites and/or faxes.
WHO ARE VICTIMS OF STALKING?
Anyone can be stalked, including college students from any economic, ethnic, or religious group. A few victims are picked at random by their stalker, but most stalking victims know their stalker, usually having had some type of present or past relationship. The perpetrator can be an intimate partner or former partner, classmate, roommate, or other acquaintance. A victim can be stalked for several days or for many years. The stalker's actions can also affect family, friends, and coworkers. Stalking and criminal harassment can be difficult to distinguish.
HOW DO I KNOW IT IS STALKING?
- Every time I went to my class, this guy would sit next to me. He kept trying to talk to me even though I told him I wasn't interested. Then he started showing up everywhere outside while waiting for transportation, in a social common space, even in the library, and threatening me if I don't go out with him. Am I being paranoid?
- I dated this woman a couple of times but then wasn't interested in seeing her again. She said someone would get hurt if I broke up with her.
If I can't have you, no one else can,she told me. We weren't in contact for a while, but now she keeps sending me e-mails. Sometimes I don't answer her. I changed my address, but she found out what the new one was. I wish she would stop.
- Two weeks ago someone left me an anonymous
secret admirernote in the library in one of my books while I was studying. Last week I was studying on campus and got up to stretch. When I came back, I found a cup of coffee with a note,
I am always watching you.This morning there were flowers outside my room. My friends don't know who is doing this, and it feels creepy!
If you or someone you know is experiencing a similar situation, please get help by contacting the STCC Police Department for more information.
If you feel frightened or uncomfortable about someone's specific behavior, pay attention to your instincts! Seek help.
WHAT CAN A STALKING VICTIM DO?
- Report the stalking to the STCC Police, or the police in your area, and follow their advice
- Inform others close to you (family, friends, residential life staff, coworkers) about the stalking
- Do your best to safely avoid all contact with the stalker
- Keep a journal or log of all incidents connected to the stalking
- Keep any letters, packages, taped telephone messages, text messages, social media postings, or e-mails received from the stalker
- Provide police with photographs of the suspect, a description, and other information
- Inform the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs on the campus and learn about other options including a Stay Away Request and privacy requests.
Follow basic safety tips
- Try not to walk alone
- Know your surroundings and locations of emergency phones and panic buttons
- Lock your car and house doors when alone
- Consider using different routes to drive or walk to class or other routine places, keeping close friends informed
- Park your vehicle in well-lit areas
- Check your vehicle including front and rear passenger seat areas before getting in
- Change locks to your home and car
The Court has trained domestic violence advocates that are there to assist you with completing the paperwork. If court is not in session, the STCC Police Department can assist you with obtaining an emergency restraining order. If you are a victim of abuse and need treatment or referral, call toll-free: SafeLink, a Massachusetts statewide multilingual, 24-hour service hotline at 1-877-785-2020. Visit the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance at www.state.ma.us/mova
24-Hour Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Resources
If you, or someone that you know, is questioning
is this abuse? the Hampden County District Attorney's Office encourages you to explore the sites below or come to the Domestic Violence Intervention Office to have your questions answered.
Hampden County District Attorney's Office
Safe Passage: Northampton
Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project:
Information on Safety Planning
Domestic Violence Information