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If there is immediate danger, call 911.

No one asks to be stalked, but it's a common experience for many college students, in fact 12% of students are impacted by stalking (Brownstein, A. (2000). Stalking refers to repeated and threatening behavior directed toward a person that leads to concern or fear about personal safety. Individual stalking behaviors are not necessary illegal or against university policy (e.g., texting, waiting for someone outside a classroom). However, when these acts are unwanted, there can be an implied threat in the repetition of behavior and tone of contact. Examples of stalking behaviors include being followed receiving excessive texts and calls or having another person seek out and misuse personal information about you. If someone's pattern of behavior frightens you, you can work with a VAV Counselor to learn about your rights and create a safety plan.

Safety planning begins with looking at your life--including your schedule and home security-- to identify areas where you may feel vulnerable. Once areas of concern are identified, you can establish specific ways to increase your safety. For example, you might:

  • Vary your route to and from school or work
  • Create a code word with trusted friends and family members
  • Notify people know where you're going to be
  • Change your passwords
  • Create new e-mail accounts or social media profiles
  • Alert building security where you live

A safety plan will look different for every individual. No two stalking situations are alike, and a response to one stalking situation may not work in another case. It is important to know various options for dealing with a stalker that can increase safety, whether you use them yourself or share them with a friend, family member, or co-worker. The most important part of a safety plan is that it is tailored to your own emotional and physical needs. Working with a VAV Counselor can help you access resources on and off campus and think through your best options to increase your safety on campus and at home.

If you or someone you know would like more information on Voices Against Violence (VAV) services, including individual counseling, group counseling and advocacy please call the Counseling and Mental Health Center at (512)471-3515. When you call, ask for a VAV appointment. If this is an emergency, please call 911. If you need to speak with someone immediately, you can walk in to the Counseling and Mental Health Center M-F, 8am-4pm. UT students can reach a telephone counselor 24/7/365 at (512) 471-CALL (2255)

You have a right to be safe at The University of Texas at Austin.

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