In the news: If you’ve never experienced stalking, consider yourself lucky. If you think it’s something harmless or simply annoying, think again!
Although legal definitions vary from one jurisdiction to another, across the board stalking is a serious course of conduct that’s directed at a specific person; that conduct is unwanted and causes fear in someone else.
While no two cases are exactly the same, here’s a typical scenario: A former dating partner starts showing up in places you don’t expect (or want) them to be; they begin to track where you go, who you go with, etc. If that scenario causes you to become afraid, that’s stalking.
Stalking is not something to be dismissed and here’s why:
- In the United States, 7.5 million people are stalked (on average) each year.
- The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know: 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, 25% of female victims and 32% of male victims are stalked by an acquaintance.
- 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
And so… sadly in January we recognize National Stalking Awareness Month.
For more information:
–Presidential Proclamation – National Stalking Awareness Month, 2016
–Office of Justice Programs – Bureau of Justice Statistics page on stalking
–National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) website