January is Stalking Awareness Month and we encourage everyone to learn more about what stalking is and how you can help those in need. Take this quick quiz to see how much you really know about this serious, often violent act!
What is Stalking?
Oregon law defines stalking as one person's knowingly alarming or coercing another person by engaging in repeated and unwanted contact with the other person. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
Help for Myself
While many people think of stalkers as being a stranger to the victim, up to 80% of all stalking cases involve a previous personal or romantic relationship between the stalker and the victim – many of which included domestic violence.
A person may knowingly alarm or coerce you by a variety of repeated and unwanted contacts, including:
· Following you or hanging around where you can see him or her
· Waiting outside your home, school or property
· Communicating with you by talking, writing, sending you things directly or through a third person
· Committing a crime against you, your pets, belongings, or your property
· Or other ways not listed here
Being stalked can be terrifying. Many victims of stalking suffer from anxiety, insomnia, and severe depression. You may feel afraid for your safety and that you have nowhere to turn because your stalker seems to always be there.
Stalking is a serious, potentially life-threatening crime. Saving Grace can provide support and resources for stalking victims, including information on how to get a stalking protective order. To learn more about stalking, please visit the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center.
Help for Friends and Family
Stalking often begins during a relationship. Stalkers may keep the victim under surveillance or threaten them. Others begin stalking after the victim has ended the relationship, and the stalker feels desperate to maintain or regain control.
Stalking victims often lose time from work or never return to work, and some even relocate to regain a sense of safety. Many suffer from anxiety, insomnia, and severe depression as a result of being stalked.
It can be difficult for victims to gather evidence of stalking due to the elusive nature of stalking, and therefore can be challenging to prosecute. Victims, therefore, often feel as though they are not being believed—in the midst of being terrorized by someone.
To support someone being stalked, first and foremost, believe them. Educate yourself about stalking by visiting the Stalking Resource Center website and by learning about how to get a stalking protective order in Oregon.