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Stalking Awareness Month

January is Stalking Awareness Month.

Stalking is a form of unwanted contact that either directly threatens or indirectly implies a threat or places a victim in fear. Actions such as: following someone; suddenly appearing at a person's home or workplace; making harassing phone calls; leaving unwanted messages and objects; or vandalizing someone's property are all examples of stalking.

Statistics

  • 7.5 million people were stalked in one year in the U.S.
  • 61 percent of female victims and 44 percent of male victims were stalking by a current or former intimate partner
  • An estimated 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have been a victim of stalking during their lifetimes

Data from Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011

Who are victims?

Anyone can be a victim of stalking. Both men and women are stalking victims. NISVS data shows that approximately 88% of female victims were stalked by men and male victims were stalked by men and women in approximately equal numbers (48% and almost 45% respectively). Stalkers come from all communities. Stalking can happen within a relationship, during a break-up, or outside of a relationship altogether.

Impacts of stalking

Stalking is a terrifying crime, leaving victims frequently on-edge, fearing for their safety. During the course of being stalked, or after the stalking has stopped, victims may experience a range of emotions and physical reactions. Some of these reactions may include:

  • Heightened anxiety,
  • Sleeplessness,
  • Feelings of self-doubt or blame,
  • Isolation,
  • Thoughts of suicide,
  • Depression,
  • Fear,
  • Frustration,
  • Sadness,
  • Challenges with intimacy,
  • Fatigue,
  • Gastrointestinal problems,
  • Headaches, and
  • Heart palpitations.

What can I do if I am being stalked?

  • If you feel that you are in imminent danger, trust your instincts and do what makes you feel safe. Consider going to a safe location such as a police station. Call 911 if you fear for your immediate safety.
  • Know that you are not to blame for the stalker's behavior.
  • Call your local domestic violence or sexual assault program to get support and hear about options and resources. Visit the National Stalking Resource Center's website for more information.
  • Consider getting a protection order to keep the stalker away from you.
  • Keep a log of the stalking incidences to show the pattern of events. Write down every incident that happens including all the times, dates and other information.
  • Keep videotapes, answering machine or voicemail messages, photos of property damage, emails and letters you receive.
  • Know that technology can be used to track you.
  • Tell important people about the stalking problem including: the police; your employer or school; and family, friends and neighbors.

Tips

Reviewed: May 10th, 2016