National Stalking Awareness Month

 

On December 28, 2011, President Barack Obama declared January 2012 National Stalking Awareness Month. A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. Most stalking cases involve men stalking women, but men dostalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men.

Stalker Profile: (1) 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method. 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach. Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases. Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before. Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly. [Kris Mohandie et al., “The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]

Things you can do if being stalked as recommended by the Stalking Resource Center are listed below:

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

 Trust your instincts. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.

Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship.

Contact a crisis hotline, victim services agency, or a domestic violence or rape crisis program. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, weigh options such as seeking a protection order, and refer you to other services.

Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you. Click here to learn more about safety plans.

Don’t communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.

Keep evidence of the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep emails, text messages, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Click here to download a stalking incident and behavior log.

Contact the police. Every state has stalking laws. The stalker may also have broken other laws by doing things like assaulting you or stealing or destroying your property.

Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you.

Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support. Tell security staff at your job or school. Ask them to help watch out for your safety.

The Presidential Proclamation for National Stalking Awareness reads as follows:

Presidential Proclamation

“In our schools and in our neighborhoods, at home and in workplaces across our Nation, stalking endangers the physical and emotional well being of millions of American men and women every year. Too often, stalking goes unreported and unaddressed, and we must take action against this unacceptable abuse. This month, we stand with all those who have been affected by stalking and strengthen our resolve to prevent this crime before it occurs.”

“Stalkers inspire fear through intimidation, explicit or implied threats, and nonconsensual communication often by telephone, text message, or email that can cause severe emotional and physical distress. Many victims suffer anxiety attacks, feelings of anger or helplessness, and depression. Fearing for their safety, some are forced to relocate or change jobs to protect themselves. And, tragically, stalking can be a precursor to more violent offenses, including sexual assault and homicide. The consequences of this crime are real, and they take a profound and ongoing toll on men, women, teens, and children across our country.”

“Despite the dangerous reality of stalking, public awareness and legal responses to this crime remain limited. New data show that one in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking that caused them to be very fearful or feel that they or someone close to them were in immediate physical danger. Among men and women alike, victims are most commonly stalked by current or former intimate partners, and young adults are at the highest risk for stalking victimization. Though stalking can occur in any community, shame, fear of retribution, or concerns that they will not be supported lead many victims to forego reporting the crime to the police. As we strive to reverse this trend, we must do more to promote public awareness and support for survivors of stalking.”

“My Administration is working to advance protection and services for stalking victims, empower survivors to break the cycle of abuse, and bring an end to violence against women and men. With unprecedented coordination between Federal agencies, we are promoting new tools to decrease the incidence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and we are taking action to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. To reinforce these efforts, advocates, law enforcement officials, and others who work with victims must continue to improve their capacity to respond with swift and comprehensive action. From raising awareness to pursuing criminal justice, all of us have a role to play in stopping this senseless and harmful behavior.”

“This month, let us come together to prevent abuse, violence, and harassment in all their forms and renew our commitment to bring care and support to those in need.”

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2012 as National Stalking Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to learn to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors, and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans.”

For further information on National Stalking Awareness Month related activities, please visit the White House website. Additionally, you can visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org for information, resources, and downloadable material to help you raise awareness for Stalking Awareness Month.

Source(s): National Center For Victims of Crime’s Stallking Resource Center website. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/28/presidential-proclamation-national-stalking-awareness-month-2012. [Kris Mohandie et al., “The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art.

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