Stranger Stalkers – from the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies ▪ Colorado State University

Stranger Stalkers fixate on a particular victim, unannounced to that person. The stalker begins to make contact with the victim in a variety of ways that may initially seem harmless, but their continued presence generates fear and terror for the victim. “Peeping Toms” should not be taken lightly, and can pose a very real threat to their victims.

A survey of university undergraduates revealed that 20% had been stalked or harassed by a former dating partner. (Haugaar & Seri 2004) Stranger stalkers are fantasy oriented and obsessive, with definite personality and/or mental disorders. Cyber-stalkers and pedophiles are also types of stranger stalkers who may use the internet to gather information on their victims.

Stalking literally means to pursue prey or quarry. Legally, it is defined by state statutes, and is generally considered a course of conduct that places a person in fear for their safety.

In Colorado, stalking is defined as harassing someone (i.e., following, contacting, or watching another person) in a way that causes them to feel fearful (state statute C.R.S. 18-9-111). A first time offense is considered a Class 5 Felony, and a Class 4 Felony when there is a restraining order or injunction already in place.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1,006,970 women and 370,000 men are stalked annually in the United States. On college campuses, 3 in 10 college women report being injured emotionally or psychologically from being stalked, and 80% of campus stalking victims know their stalker.

Additional Resources

For excellent information on stalking, including stalking behavior logs, safety plan guidelines, and a complete handbook for victims, contact the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center online at, call 1-800-FYI-CALL (M-F 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM EST), or e-mail