By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Becky Winstead of Remedies: renewing lives said that most, but not all, stalkers are people that the victim has been closely involved with.

Editor

On Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., Jan. 2, the Ida Public Library held a program on Stalking Awareness. Becky Winstead of Remedies: renewing lives was the guest speaker. Half of the people present at the program had been stalked at some point in their lives.

January 2019 marks the fifteenth National Stalking Awareness Month, an annual call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking. ”It is critical to raise the issue of stalking as its own form of gender-based violence as well as a crime that frequently predicts and co-occurs with physical and sexual assault. Stalking impacts over one in six women and one in seventeen men in the United States — yet, despite the prevalence and impacts, many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its danger and urgency.

Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear. Many stalking victims experience being followed, approached, monitored and/or threatened – including through various forms of technology. Victims and survivors often suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression as a result of their victimization, and many lose time from work and/or move. Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right as well as a predictor of potentially lethal violence: in 85 percent of cases where an intimate partner (i.e., boyfriend or husband) attempted to murder his female partner, stalking preceded the attack.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia, but can be difficult to recognize and prosecute in a system designed to respond to singular incidents rather than the series of acts that constitutes stalking.

NSAM’s theme —“Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” – is a call to action for everyone in Boone County and across the country. While police and victim-serving professionals are critical, the reality is that the vast majority of victims tell friends or family about the stalking first.

We all have a role to play in identifying stalking, intervening when necessary and supporting victims and survivors. Remedies: renewing lives offers programs and services to promote awareness and public education about stalking during the annual observance.

What is stalking?

Stalking is a series of actions that make you feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.

7.5 million people are stalked each year in the United States. Women are stalked at a rate two times higher than men.

Some things stalkers do:

Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups.

Follow you and show up wherever you are.

Send unwanted gifts, letters, texts, or emails.

Damage your home, car, or other property.

Monitor your phone calls or computer use.

Use technology, like hidden cameras or Global Positions Systems (GPS), to track where you go.

Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.

Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.

Find out about you by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.

Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.

You are not to blame for a stalker’s behavior.

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking…

For complete article, pick up the Jan. 10 Belvidere Republican.