January is Stalking Awareness Month
January is Stalking Awareness Month launched in 2004 by the National Center for Victims of Crime to promote recognition of stalking as a crime. Since then, stalking has been recognized as a crime and precursor to other crimes such as human trafficking, rape and ultimately, murder.
“Stalking is motivated by perpetrators to gain or maintain control over their victims,” said Lori Jump, chief executive officer for StrongHearts Native Helpline. “Historically, the interest was to control people, land and resources. Today, at least one in four stalking incidents involve a current or previous personal relationship.”
Violence Against Native American Women and Men
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Justice, more than four in five Native women (84.3 percent) have experienced violence in their lifetime while intimate partner violence manifests alarming rates of other types of violence, including:
- Stalking (48.8 percent)
- Physical violence (55.5 percent)
- Sexual violence (56.1 percent)
- Emotional Abuse (66.4 percent)
The rate of violence perpetrated by non-Natives is astonishing with 97 percent of female victims and 90 percent of male victims reporting violence at the hands of interracial (non-Native) intimate partners, while fewer Native victims: 35 percent of female victims and 33 percent of male victims experienced intraracial (Native) intimate partner violence (IPV).
Stalking, sexual assault, physical violence, and psychological aggression are the top four categories of violence perpetrated against Native people wherein almost 3 million Native women and men have been victims of violence and just over 1.2 million Native women and men have been stalked.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others. It includes unwanted attention, harassment and/or threats and multiple forms of abuse. Ultimately, stalking is an attempt to manipulate, convince or coerce victims into compliance.
Red flags include:
- Repeated calls, text messages, e-mails, or posts via social media
- The perpetrator shows up at the victim’s known whereabouts (e.g., near home, work, school, etc)
- Threatening to hurt the victim and/or people they care about.
Cyberstalking is a form of digital abuse where abusers hurt, threaten or intimidate their victim using phones, computers or social media. Methods include:
using technology to track, find and/or disseminate personal information about the victim.
sending threatening or insulting messages.
using the victims devices to create clone profiles and/or send malicious content.
Victim And Perpetrator Demographics
According to the Stalking, Prevention, Awareness Resource Center, (SPARC):
- People aged 18-24 experience the highest rate of stalking victimization.
- More than twice as many victims are stalked with technology than without.
- 2 in 3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week using more than one method of contact.
- Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases
- Intimate partner stalkers are the most likely stalkers to approach, threaten, and harm their victims.
- More than 80% of survivors reported the person stalking them was known to them in some way.
- Strangers are reported as the perpetrator of stalking in less than 25% of stalking cases.
Legal note: It should be noted that although stalking is against the law in every state, the crime of stalking is defined differently in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on tribal and federal lands.
StrongHearts Can Help
If you or someone you know is being hurt by a stalker or intimate partner, learn more about safety planning and read: Creating A Separation Plan and Preparedness Kit. For more information, StrongHearts Native Helpline can be reached via call or text 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) or chat online at strongheartshelpline.org. Advocates are available 24/7.
André B. Rosay, "Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men," (June 1, 2016) https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/violence-against-american-indian-and-alaska-native-women-and-men. Accessed December 21, 2022
Stalkingawareness.org “Stalking Fact Sheet.” https://www.stalkingawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/SPARC_StalkngFactSheet_2018_FINAL.pdf. Accessed December 22, 2022
Safe Horizon, “Stalking Statistics and Facts.” https://www.safehorizon.org/get-informed/stalking-statistics-facts/#definition/. Accessed December 23, 2022
StrongHearts Native Helpline, “Creating A Separation Plan and Preparedness Kit.” Accessed December 27, 2022