January is National Stalking Awareness Month. You may have seen news stories about celebrities being stalked by obsessive fans, but you may not realize that stalking victimization happens to ordinary people all the time. Stalking isn’t romantic, it isn’t funny, and it’s much more common than you might think.
Stalking is a pattern of behavior that makes the victim feel harassed, threatened, or afraid. The stalker is usually, but not always, someone the victim knows. A stalker might follow you around; hang out places they know you will be; call, text, email, or instant-message you repeatedly; send you unwanted gifts or letters; damage your property; or threaten you.
The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey estimates that 15.2% of women and 5.7% of men have been a victim of stalking in the course of their lifetimes (Breiding, Smith, et. al.). To put that into perspective, that’s 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men.
Stalking is a crime and should be taken seriously.
What to do if you think you’re being stalked:
- Call 911 if you are in imminent danger.
- If you are a student at The University of Alabama, consider setting up an appointment at the Women and Gender Resource Center by calling (205) 348-5040. They can provide you with free counseling and help you report the stalking to UAPD and/or the Title IX office.
- The University of Alabama also has a Crisis Text Line, an anonymous counseling service run by student volunteers. Text BAMA to 741-741 at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free help.
- Collect evidence of the stalking. You may even want to file police report(s).
- Take threats seriously.
- Follow your instincts.
- Seek support from your friends, family members, co-workers, and roommates. They can watch out for the stalker and keep you safe.
For more information about stalking and National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit the following links:
Stalking Awareness Month Official Site
Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it. (CDC)
National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011 (CDC)
Stalking Resource Center (The National Center for the Victims of Crime)
Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Basile, K. C., Walters, M. L., Chen, J., & Merrick, M. T. (2014,
September 05). Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. Retrieved January, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm?s_cid=ss6308a1_e