Stalking is a serious concern, one that is often a precursor to sexual assault and other acts of violence. To spread awareness of this important, yet commonly overlooked issue, January is designated as National Stalking Awareness Month. First introduced in 2004, this important initiative seeks to turn tragedy into action.
What Should You Do If You’re Being Stalked?
Stalking should always be taken seriously. Call 911 if you think you are in immediate danger. Develop plans to stay safe, such as altering your routine or having others with you when possible. Don’t communicate with your stalker, but keep any evidence, such as photographs, emails, and texts. Tell family, friends, and coworkers about what’s happening. Contact the police so they can take legal action, and you can also contact a rape crisis hotline to further develop a safety plan.
How You Can Help Someone
Knowing how to respond when a friend or family member is being stalked can be difficult. You should never blame the victim for their situation, and understand that they must be allowed to choose how they will handle the situation. Listen, show support, and direct your loved one to reliable support resources. Be mindful of your own safety.
In addition to local resources here at OneEighty, the National Center for Victims of Crime offers several resources to help victims of stalking. The Stalking Incident and Behavior Log makes it easy to track and collect evidence for reporting to police. Tip sheets and safety plan guidelines are also available to help victims stay safe and respond appropriately to their situation.
Whether you’re a victim or know someone who is being stalked, you can take action. Using the resources available will help protect individuals from sexual assault and acts of violence.