Stalking Awareness Month

Posted On January 17, 2021
Categories Uncategorized

January is Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is when someone repeatedly harasses someone else without their consent. According to the National Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center, stalking can look like:

● Unwanted phone calls, texts, voicemails, emails, or social media messages.

● Unwanted gifts and notes

● Following a person or tracking them through technology

● Monitoring a person’s online activity such as email and social media

● Showing up at a person’s work, school, or home unannounced

● Breaking into a person’s car or home and leaving signs that they were there

Stalking is a common crime. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), “about 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking in their lifetimes.” Victims often know their stalkers or are in a romantic relationship with that person. Stalking often co-occurs with other crimes such as domestic violence or sexual assault.

Stalking often goes unreported because victims do not recognize it or feel it is not serious enough to act. However, stalking impacts mental health through anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Stalkers may also resort to violence with their victims.

Identifying and naming stalking is important because it allows victims to recognize the gravity of the situation and receive access to support and crime victim services. It’s also important for the community to be aware of the signs of stalking. Often victims turn to friends and family first about their experiences. If they are told the stalking behavior isn’t a big deal, victims are less likely to seek help.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, please reach out to an advocate with Georgia State University, Student Victim Assistance at 404-413-1965. Advocates provide confidential support and can provide resources to victims such as safety planning, filing a protective order, and connecting with mental health services.

Stalking may seem like a minor annoyance, but it has major impacts on the wellbeing and safety of victims. It’s important that communities be aware of stalking so it can be identified and responded to appropriately.