During National Stalking Awareness Month in January, StrongHearts Native Helpline joins advocates, sister organizations and communities throughout Indian Country to raise awareness about stalking and to support and honor survivors and victims.
“StrongHearts calls on everyone — advocates, tribal leaders, reservation and urban Indian community members, service providers, Native organizations, and allies — to support and strengthen the movement to prevent and end stalking,” says Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), director, StrongHearts Native Helpline.
Stalking is a pattern of behaviors that include unwanted attention, harassment and/or threats that would cause someone to fear for their safety. Anyone - children, elders and LGBTQ2S+ individuals can experience stalking. Stalking can happen to those who do not know the perpetrator, although stalking is a common tactic in domestic violence where one partner tries to exert power and control over the other partner through a pattern of behaviors. Domestic violence has several faces: physical, sexual, emotional, cultural, financial and digital — oftentimes these are intertwined. Stalking can occur during the relationship and may increase in intensity when the victim attempts to leave.
According to the National Institute of Justice, domestic violence disproportionately impacts Native Americans and Alaska Natives, with more than 1.5 million Native women and 1.4 million Native men experiencing violence during their lifetime, often by non-Native perpetrators. 17% of Native women experience stalking in their lifetimes. Additionally, according to the Stalking, Prevention and Resource Center:
- 74% of those stalked by a former intimate partner reported violence and/or coercive control during the relationship.
- 81% of women who were stalked by a current or former spouse or cohabitating partner were also physically assaulted by that partner.
- 46% of victims experienced one or more violent incidents by their stalker.
- 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
- 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
Stalking among Native Americans is not natural or traditional. The domination and subjugation of Native Americans began with colonization and continues today. Colonization was and continues to be responsible for the catastrophic loss of life, language, lands and culture for Native peoples.
“No matter where Native Americans live in the U.S. — on a reservation, in a small town, a rural area, or in a major U.S. city — StrongHearts Native Helpline is here to help all of our relatives affected by stalking,” says Jump.
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a 24/7 culturally-appropriate domestic and sexual violence helpline for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, available by calling or texting 1-844-762-8483 or clicking on the chat icon at strongheartshelpline.org. Advocates offer peer support, crisis intervention, safety planning and referrals to Native-centered services. StrongHearts Native Helpline is a proud partner of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.