Anyone who has been the victim of stalking can tell you, it’s a terrifying experience and a reprehensible way of controlling a person—instilling a sense of fear and powerlessness.
Just think of it… someone watching you at any given moment, following you or lying in wait, threatening you… it can keep you off balance, anxious and full of mistrust. In fact, 46% of stalking victims say that fear of not knowing what’s next impacts them deeply. And it is further terrorizing not know if it will ever stop.
Stalking impacts victims in every area of life—1 in 8 lose time from work and 1 in 7 move as a result—affecting them financially and professionally. Emotionally, it takes a tremendous toll—anxiety, insomnia and severe depression are all prevalent among those being stalked.
Although victims are frequently targeted by someone they know—66% of female and 41% of male victims are stalked by current of former partners—sometimes a person has no idea who the perpetrator is.
Stalking affects 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the United States. It’s becoming prevalent. A month of awareness allows us the opportunity to get information out about this menacing crime, learn more about it and give access to some useful resources.
Some important facts:
Some important facts:
· Women are nearly 3 times more likely to be stalked than men.
· The majority of stalkers are male.
· 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.
· 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
· Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
· 1 in 5 cases of stalking includes the use of a weapon.
Facts around stalking and intimate partner femicide (deaths of women):
· 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
· 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
· 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
· 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
So what can you do?
In Missouri, stalking is a crime. Keep detailed records of stalking incidents. Record keeping can make all the difference in prosecuting stalking cases and can legally help to differentiate between stalking and harassment. Stalking is not just a one-time event—it’s an accumulation of events. Other things to consider:
· Try to make sure you have witnesses and keep track of who they are.
· Make a safety plan to help reduce your risk of harm.
· Consider your online visibility and decide if you need to make changes to be more private.
· Give pictures of the stalker to security and friends at work/school/etc.
· Tell your supervisors—they have a responsibility to keep you safe at work.
· File police reports as incidents happen.
Stalking is a serious offense and can escalate into violence. If you think you’re in immediate danger call 911 or the National Stalking Resource Center hotline: 1-800-FYI-CALL.
For more information and tools, please visit victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center.