Lyon College is committed to keeping students safe from the dangers of stalking.
Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the individual's safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Pattern of Behavior
- How many incidents make a pattern?
Two or more incidents make a pattern. However, definition vary from state-to-state. It’s important to be familiar with your state’s laws about stalking.
- What types of behaviors are considered stalking?
Stalkers use a variety of tactics, including (but not limited to): unwanted contact including phone calls, texts, and contact via social media, unwanted gifts, showing up/approaching an individual or their family/friends, monitoring, surveillance, property damage, and threats.
- What if the stalker's actions aren't illegal? (Ex: sending gifts)
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the military and tribal lands. Some of the behaviors that make up the crime of stalking are criminal on their own (like property damage). Even if the behavior is not a crime on its own (like texting excessively), it may be part of the pattern of stalking behavior and victims should consider documenting and reporting it.
- What does "specific person" mean?
Stalking is typically directed at a specific person – the victim. However, stalkers often contact the victim’s family, friends and/or coworkers as part of their pattern of behavior.
- Who is likely to be stalked?
Anyone can be a victim of stalking. A majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know: a current or former intimate partner, acquaintance, or family member.
- Are men or women more likely to be stalked?
The majority of stalking victims are female. However, people of all genders can be stalked. It is estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men will experience stalking in their lifetime.
The definition of stalking includes that a reasonable person would feel fear. It is important to note that fear is often masked by other emotions: anger, frustration, hopelessness or despair.
Many stalkers’ behaviors seem innocuous or even desirable to outsiders – for example, sending expensive gifts. The stalker’s actions don’t seem scary and are hard to explain.
- How can I explain what's going on?
Fear is contextual. What’s scary to one person may not be scary to another. In stalking cases, many of the behaviors are only scary to a victim because of their relationship with the stalker.
For example: A bouquet of roses is not scary on its own. But when a victim receives a bouquet from an abusive ex-boyfriend who she recently relocated to get away from – and she did not think he knew where her new home was – this flower delivery becomes terrifying and threatening.
It is essential for responders to ask about and understand why certain behaviors are scary to the victim.
- What if the victim is more irritated or angry than afraid?
People react to stalkers in a variety of ways. Some may seem irritated or angry rather than scared, while others may minimize and dismiss their stalking as “no big deal.” Irritation, anger, and/or minimization may be masking fear.
It is helpful to consider how victims may change their behaviors to cope with the stalking. Are they changing travel routes? Avoiding certain locations? Screening calls? These may be indicators that victims are afraid.
How is stalking different from harassment?
Stalking and harassment are similar and can overlap. Harassment may be part of a stalking pattern of behavior/course of conduct.
Generally, the element of fear is what separates stalking from harassment. Harassment is typically irritating and bothersome, sometimes to the point where a victim feels deeply uncomfortable. However, victims of harassment are not typically afraid of their perpetrators.
For example, a colleague who consistently mocks a new coworker for her appearance may be harassing her by saying cruel things and sending disparaging e-mails. While the victim is distressed and may feel sad, anxious, angry and/or uncomfortable, she is not afraid of the perpetrator – she does not believe that the behaviors will escalate or that further harm will come to her. However, if that same perpetrator began calling the victim’s cell phone, following the victim and/or posting disparaging things about the victim online, it could become stalking.
What is Stalking?
Why Learn About Stalking? (video)
Lyon College is in the process of partnering with local law enforcement to design and offer a free course on self-defense to Lyon students. This course will be taught on an annual basis, and will be free to students. The course is limited to women only.
If you hear shots fired on campus or if you witness an armed person shooting or threatening people (active shooter): Immediately choose the best way to protect your life. Very quickly, make your best determination of what is occurring and which of the options below will provide the greatest degree of security for you employing the “RUN, HIDE, or FIGHT” protocol.
RUN: Evacuate if possible.
- If there is considerable distance between you and the gunfire/armed person, quickly move away from the sound of the gunfire/armed person. If the gunfire/armed person is in your building and it is safe to do so, run out of the building and move far away until you are in a secure place to hide.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Keep your hands visible to law enforcement.
- Take others with you, but do not stay behind because others will not go.
- Call 911 when it is safe to do so. Do not assume that someone else has reported the incident. The information that you are able to provide law enforcement may be critical, e.g. number of shooters, physical description and identification, number and type(s) of weapons, and location of the shooter.
HIDE: Hide silently in as safe a place as possible.
- If the shooter is in close proximity and you cannot evacuate safely, hide in an area out of the armed person’s view.
- Choose a hiding place with thicker walls and fewer windows, if possible.
- Lock doors and barricade with furniture, if possible.
- Turn off lights
- Silence phones and turn off other electronics.
- Close windows, shades and blinds, and avoid being seen from outside the room, if possible.
- If you are outdoors and cannot RUN safely, find a place to hide that will provide protection from gunfire such as a brick wall, large trees or buildings.
- Remain in place until you receive an “all clear” signal from the Lyon App or authorities.
FIGHT: Take action to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter.
- As a last resort, fight. If you cannot evacuate or hide safely and only when your life is in imminent danger, take action.
- Attempt to incapacitate or disrupt the actions of the shooter.
- Act with physical aggression toward the shooter.
- Use items in your area such as fire extinguishers or chairs.
- Throw items at the shooter if possible.
- Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
Immediately after an incident:
- Wait for Batesville Police Department officers or other law enforcement to assist you out of the building, if inside.
- When law enforcement arrives, students and employees must display empty hands with open palms.
- Understand that gunfire may sound artificial. Assume that any popping sound is gunfire.
- If there are two or more persons in the same place when a violent incident begins, you should spread out in the room to avoid offering the aggressor an easy target.
- Be mindful that violent attacks can involve any type of weapon, not just a gun. Knives, blunt objects, physical force or explosives can be just as deadly as a gun. The suggested actions provided here are applicable in any violent encounter.
- Plan ahead: Visualize possible escape routes, including physically accessible routes for students and staff with disabilities and others with limited mobility.
Run, Hide, Fight (video)
Whether you are heading off to college for the first time or beginning your senior year, you can never be too safe. Here at Lyon, we want every student to always be thinking safe. Here are some safety tips to follow to help keep you and your belongings safer and accounted for:
Around the Campus:
- Walking around Campus
- Use the “buddy-system” and stay close to a friend while walking, or not possible, stay on the phone with a friend, especially after dark. Campus Safety does offer night time escorts when requested.
- Stay in well-lit areas.
- When you do go out, let a friend know where you are, and who you will be with.
- Keep your phone handy, and pre-program the Campus Safety number into your phone for quick access. The number is 870-307-SAFE.
- Need a ride? Never accept rides from strangers, call a trusted friend instead.
- Around the campus
- If you see a suspicious person, call Campus Safety and report it.
- Report broken locks or doors to Campus Safety immediately
- Keep your car locked and valuables hidden out of sight.
Safety in the Residence Halls:
- Do not allow tailgating: Most of us were raised to hold the door open for a person behind us. However, letting unknown guests into the residence halls makes everyone in the dorm vulnerable. Lyon asks that you do not hold the door for individuals who you are unsure if they live in your building. We recognize that students may feel they’re being rude, or may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of closing a door in someone’s face. So, Lyon encourages students who needs access to their dorm because they may not have their card or it may not work, to call an RA or Campus Safety. Campus Safety will verify their ID prior to allowing access.
- Do not prop open residence hall doors.
- Do not allow unfamiliar people in your room.
- Keep your blinds or curtains closed after dark or while dressing.
- Report missing ID cards to student life or RLS immediately.
- Memorize fire and emergency escape routes, along with fire extinguisher locations
- Party responsibly. Know your limits and ALWAYS use a trusted friend as a designated driver.
- Preventing theft in the dorms
- Do not leave notes on your door or board stating that you are gone or out of town. It is an invitation for theft.
- Keep your dorm room lock at all times, especially after hours, while sleeping, or when you are gone.
- Do not put your name or address on your keys. If they are lost, whoever finds them can use them to easily access your room
- Do not loan your keys to anyone.
- Purchase a lock for your laptop or other valuable items
- Write down serial numbers to valuable items, and keep them secured somewhere safe. Never leave important documents with sensitive information where they can be seen by others out.
- Engraving is a great way to help identify stolen/lost items.