New Choices | January is National Stalking Awareness Month
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January is National Stalking Awareness Month

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

What is stalking? A pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Pattern of Behavior
How many incidents make a pattern? Two or more incidents make a pattern.

What types of behaviors are considered stalking?
Stalkers use a variety of tactics, including (but not limited to): unwanted contact through phone calls, texts, and contact via social media, unwanted gifts, showing up/approaching an individual or their family/friends, monitoring, surveillance, property damage, and threats.

Specific Person
What does “specific person” mean? Stalking is typically directed at a specific person – the victim. However, stalkers often contact the victim’s family, friends and/or coworkers as part of their pattern of behavior.
Who is likely to be stalked? Anyone can be a victim of stalking. A majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know; a current of former intimate partner, acquaintance or family member.
Are men or women more likely to be stalked?
The majority of stalking victims are female. However, people of all genders can be stalked. It is estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men will experience stalking in their lifetime.

The definition of stalking includes that a reasonable person would feel fear. It is important to note that fear is often masked by other emotions, such as anger, frustration, hopelessness or despair. Many stalkers’ behaviors seem innocuous or even desirable to outsiders – for example, sending expensive gifts. The stalker’s actions may not seem scary and are normally hard to explain. Fear is contextual. What’s scary to one person may not be scary to another. In stalking cases, many of the behaviors are only scary to a victim because of their relationship with the stalker. People react to stalkers in a variety of ways. Some may seem irritated or angry rather than scared, while others may down play or dismiss their stalking. It should be considered how victims are likely to change their behaviors to cope with the stalking.


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