Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

Survivors of Sexual Assault Handbook

The following is a list of suggestions that may help you increase your safety if you are being stalked. The goal is to allow the stalker as little personal information about you as possible. Since each case of stalking is unique, there is no single list that will ensure complete safety.

  • Make a Cease and Desist request.
    • If you can do so safely, notify the stalker to cease and desist all contact with you. Be able to report the date and manner in which you conveyed this message, as this information will be essential if you later decide to file a case for a Personal Protection Order. You can make a cease and desist request through a letter, e-mail, or over the phone, whether verbally or via text. SAPAC can give you more specific information about how to do this. If you think you may be in a stalking situation, please contact SAPAC for help on how to structure your cease and desist request safely.
       
  • Refrain from all contact and communication with the person stalking you.
    • Perpetrators are excellent manipulators. Your safety may be jeopardized in that responding to the stalker’s actions may reinforce and/or encourage their behavior.
       
  • Tell as many people as you feel comfortable disclosing to.
    • If you feel comfortable/safe doing so, give friends, family members, and coworkers a description of the stalker. This can help protect you against the stalker trying to use a false story to manipulate others for information about you. Tell friends and neighbors not to give your address or phone number to anyone, even someone posing as a deliveryman or a mailman. Also, others can serve as witness to the stalker’s attempts to contact you.
       
  • If the stalker doesn’t yet know where you live get a private P.O. Box.
    • While information for residential P.O. Box holders is generally confidential, the U.S. Postal Service will release a residential address to any government agency, or to persons serving court papers.  The Post Office does require verification from an attorney that a case is pending, but these papers can be counterfeited.
       
  • File a change of address card with the U.S. Postal Service.
    • Change your address on Wolverine Access, giving the private mailbox address. Inform friends, relatives, and businesses of the new mail box address.  Ask that these people keep the address confidential.
       
  • Destroy your own discarded mail.
     
  • Obtain an anti-stalking restraining order.
    • You may be able to obtain a restraining order from your local circuit court, stating that the stalker is to have no contact with you and that if the order is violated, criminal penalties will follow. A restraining order is also commonly known as a “no-contact” order or a Personal Protection Order (PPO).
       
  • Take civil action against your stalker.
    • Civil action allows you to sue your stalker for any damage that they have done, for emotional harm, and/or for time lost from work. It may also entitle you to exemplary damage and legal fees.
       
  • Make a police report.
    • If incidents of stalking has occurred off-campus, but in Ann Arbor, you can make a report to the Ann Arbor Police. If incidents of stalking have occurred on campus, you can make a report to the University of Michigan Police Department. If incidents have occurred in multiple locations, you can talk to both departments. If the stalker resides in a different state, you can make a police report in your place of residence and file an FBI report for cross-state stalking.
       
  • Save any evidence you can of stalking/harassment. Keep all mail, email, voicemails, text messages, and gifts from the stalker.
     
  • You can get hard copies of text messages by forwarding them to your email address and printing them out. You may also be able to request transcripts from your phone company. If having these items around you is triggering, put them in a box and stow them away and out of your sight.
     
  • If you live in a Residence Hall, request a room change.
    • For more information and guidance about this process, call SAPAC at (734) 764-7771 to schedule an appointment with an advocate.
       
  • Do not accept any packages you did not expressly order.
    • Have them returned to sender or to the company or florist from which they were sent.
       
  • Be empowered to feel safe in your own home.
    • If you live in an apartment building, leave your name off of the list of tenants near the front door. Local police will often “safety check” the security of your doors and windows. Make sure there is adequate outside lighting.
       
  • If at all possible, try not to travel alone. Utilize walking and/or transportation services around campus or in other locations when available.
    • You may want to vary your routes to and from school, work, and other places you frequently go, making it more difficult for someone to learn your routine. A companion can serve as a witness if the stalker appears in your sight, follows you, or is waiting for you.

SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR PHONE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Try to be aware of how much identifying information you have posted and are posting via social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Consider turning off location services on your phone, so that your posts do not include your location.
     
  • You may be able to get a new, unlisted phone number. For additional safety, you may also be able to ask your phone company to block your number, so it won’t show up on calls you make.
     
  • Change/re-record your voicemail message so that it no longer includes your name or your voice.
     
  • Block calls and texts from your stalker. There are several ways to do this – you may be able to contact your cellular provider and have them block your stalker’s number directly. If you have an iPhone, you can block calls, text message, and FaceTime requests from anyone in your contacts list. There are also several apps available for both iPhone and Android that allow you to block calls and texts from a specific number.
     
  • Select the highest security settings on any social networking sites. If possible, block the stalker’s profile on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and make your profile private on sites with the option to do so. You can also limit who can find you through Facebook searches, and take steps to prevent someone from finding your Facebook profile through Google.
     
  • Be wary of giving out personal information when making online purchases.

RESOURCES

On-Campus
U of M Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center
105 S. State Street, Rm. 2450
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285
Phone: (734) 764 7771
24-Hour Crisis Line: (734) 936 3333

University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD)
For emergencies: 911
For non-emergencies: (734) 764 1131
OR  text 377911

Off-Campus

Ann Arbor Police Department (AAPD)
For emergencies: 911
For non-emergencies: (734) 994 2911

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department
Phone: (734) 974 8400

Safe House Center
24-Hour Response Line: (734) 995 5444

FBI – Detroit Office
Phone: (313) 965 2323

Ypsilanti Police Department
For emergencies: 911
For non-emergencies: (734) 483 9510

SAPAC can provide help and guidance through this process, including keeping information and evidence for the survivor. Remember that you did nothing to deserve to be stalked, and that you are not responsible for a stalker’s criminal behavior.