Saturday, January 5, 2008

January is National Stalking Awareness Month


Stalking is not just a one-time occurrence; it is a crime that leaves its victim fearful 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most stalkers know where their victim lives, so not even home is a place for their victim. Most victims spend their days and nights looking over their shoulder, changing jobs, relocating their homes, and even go to the extent of changing their appearance so the stalker can not recognize them. In many instances, victims usually know their stalkers and 81 percent of female victims are also physically assaulted by their stalker.
Many experts have concluded that there is a strong connection between stalking and violence toward women. Declaring January as National Stalking Awareness Month, helps raise awareness about this serious and potentially deadly crime.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime and the Stalking Resource Center, approximately 1 million women and 400,000 men are victims of stalking in this country annually. 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked at some point in their lives, as well as close to 13 percent of female college students. Today’s technology has made stalking easier. Stalkers can design websites to encourage others to monitor or harm their victim, install spyware on their victim’s computer or even plant global positioning systems (GPS) in their victim’s car to track their victim’s travels. Other technologies, including social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, cell phones with surveillance devices meant for parents monitoring their children, and running shoes implanted with GPS devices, may provide additional opportunities for stalkers to harm their victims.

For victim assistance, call the National Crime Victim Helpline at 1-800-FYI-CALL. Visit www.ncvc.org/src for a map of activities planned around the country for National Stalking Awareness Month and for more information.
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