January is National Stalking Awareness Month. In 2003, following the murder of Peggy Klinke, a victim of stalking, her sister strongly advocated for a greater national push for law enforcement to protect victims. In 2004, the National Center for Victims of Crime, accompanied by a resolution of Congress, introduced a month dedicated to spread understanding and awareness of the crime of stalking.
What Constitutes Stalking?
According to the Stalking Resource Center, stalking includes the following conduct:
“Approaching the victim or showing up in places when the victim didn’t want them to be there; making unwanted telephone calls; leaving the victim unwanted messages (text or voice); and watching or following the victim from a distance, or spying on the victim with a listening device, camera, or global positioning system”. In addition, stalking can commonly involve direct confrontation, escalating high-risk behaviors, destruction of property, and violence.
Significantly more women are stalked than men. 15 percent of women have been stalked at some point in their lifetimes, while 6 percent of men have been stalked. In total, an estimated 7.5 million people are stalked per year.
Contrary to what is portrayed on television shows, stalking isn’t typically perpetrated by a stranger and cleanly resolved at the end of an episode, never to be mentioned again. The vast majority of reported stalking is perpetrated by persons that the victims know: 61% of female stalking victims are stalked by former or current relationship partners.
The correlation between stalking and domestic violence is also grim. Most of the women who were killed by their partners or former partners were the victims of stalking and domestic violence by their murderer. Alarmingly, most of these women reported the stalking to the police before they were killed.
The Impact of Stalking
Stalking is a terrifying and traumatic experience for its victims. Beyond the real risk of death, there are numerous other impacts. This includes missing work, social withdrawal, mental health issues, constant uncertainty and fear, the necessity of moving, getting accustomed to changing email addresses and phone numbers, and hopelessness. Stalking is very dangerous and needs to be taken seriously. If you or a friend is in trouble, seek help.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law passionately advocates for clients through separations, divorces, alimony, child custody, and child support disputes. If you are in a volatile relationship and are considering a divorce, contact us. There are legal steps and numerous resources available to protect you and your children. You deserve smart, effective legal representation through your crisis. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or contact us at our website.