Stalking: Understanding the Impact

January marks National Stalking Awareness Month, spotlighting the pervasive issue that affects millions of lives in the United States. Stalking is not just an isolated incident but a pattern of behavior that extends beyond physical proximity, encompassing emotional distress, intimidation, and threats. This blog delves into the intricacies of stalking, drawing insights from various reputable sources to unravel its patterns, understand its impact, and explore ways to support victims.

Understanding Stalking: A Quick Guide

Stalking, as defined by the federal government, includes repeated unwanted contacts or behaviors that cause the victim to experience fear or substantial emotional distress or would cause a reasonable person to experience fear or substantial emotional distress. Shockingly prevalent, stalking affects both men and women, with staggering statistics revealing that 5.1 million women and 2.4 million men experienced stalking in a single year.

Stalking can intertwine with domestic violence, becoming a tool for abusers to exert control and power over their victims. Almost three-quarters of stalking victims know their stalkers, predominantly current or former intimate partners. For female stalking victims, two-thirds (66.2%) of female stalking victims experienced stalking by current or former intimate partners.

76% of women murdered by an intimate partner have experienced stalking first. Tragically, 89% of victims who experienced physical assault before being murdered also were stalked in the year preceding their death.

Stalking leaves victims grappling with emotional, psychological, and financial tolls. Forced relocations, higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and personality changes are just some of the consequences. 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplates suicide, highlighting the severity of the impact on mental health.

The intersection of stalking and technology poses additional challenges, with abusers exploiting digital platforms to harass and control their victims. Cyberstalking is on the rise, with abusers using various online tactics to intimidate and monitor victims.

Tips for Staying Safe in the Digital Age

  • Turn off location services on cell phones.
  • Use a VPN for internet access.
  • Be cautious about social media tags revealing locations.
  • Employ technology safety apps to detect cyberstalking.
  • Keep a stalking incident log for legal purposes.

National Stalking Awareness Month is a crucial reminder to recognize and respond to this serious crime. If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, our hotline is available to help at 801-255-1095. Additionally, supporting South Valley Services helps us focus on education, prevention, and intervention crucial in combating stalking and its detrimental effects.

Stalking is a pervasive issue with far-reaching consequences. By understanding its patterns, acknowledging its impact, and actively supporting victims, we can contribute to creating a community where victims find the help and protection they need and where stalking is no longer such a pervasive issue. Use this month as an opportunity for individuals and communities to unite against stalking, fostering a safer and more empathetic society.