Wednesday, December 21, 2011

January Is National Stalking Awareness Month - Would You Know Stalking If You Saw It?

“Joe seemed like a nice guy. I met him through one of those online dating sites.  I made a mistake and finally gave him my personal email.  Then the emails came fast and furious. It was ‘too much too soon’ so I backed away.   
Now he won’t leave me alone.  I asked for no further contact – but he sent me flowers to my workplace – and I never told him where I work.  I am getting concerned.  My co-workers think I am being silly…but I am not so sure.  What do I do?”

Would you know stalking if you saw it? Would you know it if it was happening to you?
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Did you know:

·         One in 6 women (16.2%) and 1  in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

·         Two-thirds (66.2%) of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner; men were primarily stalked by an intimate partner or an acquaintance, 41.4% and 40.0%, respectively.

·         Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voice, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic for both female and male victims of stalking (78.8% for women and 75.9% for men).

·         More than half of female victims and more than one-third of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25; about 1 in 5 female victims and 1 in 14 male victims experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17.

(CDC NISVS Survey, released December 2011)
The National Stalking Awareness Month website has been updated with 2012 materials - including posters, public service announcements, buttons, website banners, and more.

There are also examples of how you can raise awareness about stalking, sample status updates for a variety of social networking sites, and a quiz to check your knowledge on stalking. (I even missed some of the quiz questions!)

Go to to learn more.

For the Presidential Proclamation of National Stalking Awareness Month, click here.

What to do if you are the victim of a stalker

·         If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

·         Trust your instincts. If you sense you are in danger, you probably are.

·         Tell the stalker "no" only once. Repeatedly saying "no" reinforces the stalking by keeping the stalker engaged. Do not confront or try to bargain with a stalker.

·         Get an answering machine and leave it on your old phone line. Get another unlisted number for your family and friends. Have a friend monitor the answering machine if it is difficult for you. If you close off an avenue to a stalker they will find another which may be worse.

·         Develop a safety plan. Safety plans can includes such things as changing your routes to work, arranging for others to accompany you in public, temporarily staying with friends, planning what you can say if you run into the stalker, keeping an emergency phone nearby.

·         Try to secure your accounts so your stalker cannot access information about you. Change your passwords frequently. Contact the utility companies and set up a password for your account. Block your address at Department of Motor Vehicles. Check with the Secretary of State's office to see if you are eligible for a confidential address.

·         Document everything even if you don't go to the police. Photograph injuries and damages. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Keep a log of dates, times, places, and witnesses.

·         Tell others that you are being stalked so that neighbors and co-workers will be alerted not to divulge information and will inform you when he/she is around.
Seek help. Document everything. Take it seriously.

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