Ways to Participate in National Stalking Awareness Month
January is Stalking Awareness Month. Estimates are that annually 3.4 million Americans become victims of stalking. Most of us have a misguided understanding of what stalking is. It’s often thought of as an intruder silently lurking in the bushes waiting to follow your every move. The reality is much different.
The National Center for Victims of Crime gives us the following statistics:
- 3/4 of all victims know the person who is stalking them.
- 1:4 victims report being stalked through some form of technology
- 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at minimum of once a week, often more
- 54% of femicide victims reported stalkers to the police prior to being killed
National Stalking Awareness Month helps the public understand what stalking is and the dangers associated with the behavior. Anti-stalking laws are on the books in all 50 states.
It is also illegal in the District of Columbia and all United States territories.
The movement that led to National Stalking Awareness Month began in 2003. When Peggy Klinke was murdered by a stalker her sister Debbie Riddle went into action. She went to work to change laws that led to a Congressional resolution. Erin Brockovich hosted a national Lifetime Television program and a Lifetime Movie was made.
In 2009, the National Center for Victims’ of Crime launched the website http://www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org. With over 1.3 million visitors this is a major awareness raising tool for educating others about stalkers.
There many things that people can do to recognize Stalking Awareness Month on their job, in school or at our place of worship.
Raising awareness at work is as easy as creating a bulletin board. Visit the www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org website. There are fact sheets, posters, letter heads and more that you can use and lots of other tools available.
Use your company newsletter. Many companies email short newsletters out to employees on a daily or weekly basis. Simply adding the line that reads “ It’s Stalking Awareness Month. Visit this site for details” will help. Be sure to hyperlink the words “this site” to the above website.
In the classroom
Educate your class on the dangers of stalking by handing out fact sheets or fliers. Do some brainstorming on ways that high school youth can make a difference. Have each student write an essay or poem about it.
Mention Stalking Awareness Month during school announcements or by email. Give the link so students will know where to go for more information.
In your place of worship
Talk with your pastor or religious leader. Give this person fact sheets on stalking. Ask for victims of stalking to be prayed for during corporate prayer time.
Use information from the website to create a National Stalking Awareness Month display. Be sure to put the display where people can see it as they go in and out of your place of worship.
Bloggers and social media activists can get behind the National Stalking Awareness Month movement in a big way. It’s easy to send messages out by Twitter or re-tweet them to followers. It only takes a minute to post status updates to Facebook. Bloggers can help ignite the blogosphere by writing about the facts and dangers of stalkers.
Which way will you choose when it comes to spreading the word about National Stalking Awareness Month?