January is National Stalking Awareness Month! According to the U.S. Office of Victim Crime, stalking involves actions that include “repeated visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, and verbal, written, or implied threats.” Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Territories, and the Federal Government.
Stalking can happen in all types of relationships—ranging from relationships that are domestic to relationships between coworkers.
Stalking can be hard to detect and understand, even for those being targeted by the stalking.
In a case SJA provided input on, a victim received these text messages from a coworker (see images – which constituted several among hundreds) under the guise of “admiration, care and concern.” Yet, the messages were unwanted, persistent, and harmed the victim’s feelings of safety and well-being.
Stalking victims are more likely to experience anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression compared to the general population. Stalking victims often make decisions to protect themselves, which can include delaying or deciding not to report their experiences. Reasons for not reporting, or delaying a report, include:
1) Embarrassment, shame, and trauma
2) Belief that the stalking is not severe enough
3) Fear they won’t be believed
4) Desire to protect the stalker from consequences
5) Fear of retaliation by the stalker
6) Fear of retaliation by the institution (e.g., employer)
Want to learn more? Contact SJA for education and training, and consider these helpful resources: