Stalking Awareness Month in January was launched in 2004 by the National Center for Victims of Crime. The aim was to increase the public’s interpretation of the crime of stalking. Stalking may seem harmless to some, but history has proven that it can lead to murder among other graver crimes. It is for this reason that the Office on Violence Against Women, and the U.S. Department of Justice, are making extra efforts to spread information on stalking every year. Be a part of the campaign by pushing members of your community to be vigilant and stay safe.
History of Stalking Awareness Month
Many people use ‘stalking’ as a fun term for digging up details on our crushes through social media, but the true meaning of the word creates fear for those who have been victims of the crime. Stalking is more than just going through the statuses or photos of a person. It is following them around to discover every intimate detail about the life of the victim. Stalking includes phone calls, obsessive text messages, notes left on cars, creepy gifts, or messages on social media platforms.
Since many of these initial stages later lead to kidnapping, sexual violence, or physical attacks, ‘stalking’ is considered a crime, an offense under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. According to law, the following counts as stalking: “the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for any social or leisure activity.”
Due to the stress the victims of stalking experience, President Obama issued the first Presidential Proclamation for National Stalking Awareness Month in 2011, in which he spoke about the millions who suffer from the consequences of the crime. Due to frequent reports regarding stalking, California passed the first anti-stalking law in the U.S. in 1990. All the states had criminalized stalking by the first few decades of the 21st century.
Stalking Awareness Month timeline
The word is first said to mean “a poacher,” or “one who prowls for purposes of theft.”
Psychiatrists discover a new delusion they call ‘erotomania,’ of being loved by someone, often a public figure, and compelled to follow them around.
Journalists describe ‘obsession’ as a problem in a relationship, and not a crime.
Television actress Rebecca Schaeffer is murdered by a fan.
Cases of ‘star stalking,’ i.e., stalking celebrities, are discussed in the press.
Tennis player Monica Seles is stabbed by a deranged supporter of a rival player.
Stalking Awareness Month FAQs
What is the color for stalking awareness?
Yellow is the official stalking awareness color. Commemorate the day and raise awareness by wearing something yellow.
What does it mean to stalk a girl?
Stalking could be following someone around and tracking their movement. It usually involves the same activities regardless of gender, but more women are stalked than men.
Is stalking someone legal?
Stalking is deemed illegal when it enters the legal definition of harassment. It has been criminalized in all 50 U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia.
How to Observe Stalking Awareness Month
Hold a training session
Spreading awareness is the most important thing to do. A lot of people are unaware of how to seek help, and who can help them when they find themselves being stalked.
Launch a campaign
Plan a set of activities to carry out over the month of January to achieve social change by encouraging people, especially women and young adults, to develop the courage to speak up. Preventive measures are vital.
Print out informative posters
Print out flyers regarding what stalking is and who men and women should contact in times of need. Post them around your town.
5 Interesting Facts About Stalking
The chilling statistics
Around six to 7.5 million people are stalked per year in the United States.
A gender breakdown
Nearly one in six women and one in 17 men are victims of stalking at least once in their life.
Young people are most at risk
50% of victims said they were stalked before the age of 25.
Use of weapons
Stalkers harm victims with weapons in one out of five cases.
Stalking by strangers
Only 25% of the victims were stalked by strangers.
Why Stalking Awareness Month is Important
It increases awareness about stalking
The month is helpful because it makes people aware that stalking is a common phenomenon and can happen to anyone regardless of age and gender. This preventive measure is sometimes enough to reduce the occurrences.
Resources become more accessible
The month has become a period when information on how people can ask for help when faced with a stalking scenario is consciously displayed and announced. This access to information is key, and trickles down to the rest of the year, creating another safeguard from the dangers of stalking.
Highlights the warning signs
The month focuses on highlighting the signs of stalking. The different awareness campaigns inform people on what is considered suspicious behavior that may turn criminal.
Stalking Awareness Month dates