In today’s world, it has become ever-increasing to be able to protect oneself against threats that we should not have to worry about in civilized society. Women should feel safe walking home from school or taking the bus home after a movie. While the month of January recognizes many important causes, two timely and crucial causes it attempts to bring to the forefront are stalking and personal self-defense awareness month.
While the term stalking is used in casual conversation to refer to a high degree of unwanted and unwelcome attention, stalking is an ever-growing problem world-side. Perhaps the increase in reported stalkings is due to the fact that stalking is not just between person-to-person, but also via the internet in the form of cyber-stalking.
Stalking first became a criminally punishable offense in the US in California in 1990 after a series of brutal murders, and became nationally criminalized once the other 49 states followed suits within the next 3 years. Interestingly enough, it only became a criminal offense according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice two years ago in 2011.
Recognizing stalking as a criminal offense was an important victory because often times victims of stalking fear that no one will believe them.
Stalking is a crime and those that are stalked are victims.
One in six women and one in nineteen men have experienced stalking in their lifetime, and approximately 66% percent of women stalked are stalked by someone she was romantically involved with previously. This statistic shifts slightly when dealing with children aged 11-17 where 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 11 boys experience stalking.
To learn more about how you can support victims of stalking please visit: http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org
When discussing cyber-stalking people often think of receiving harassing texts or social media posts. 25% of those who reported being stalked were also stalking using GPS, and audio visual recording devices. Cyber stalking can turn into physical stalking if the stalker is able to determine the person’s IP address and pinpoint a geographical location. Sadly though, the law has not caught up with these digital predators.
While fear of being physically harmed is certainly on one’s mind, 46% of those that report being stalked are simply being terrified of not knowing what their future will bring and 29% fear it will never end. 1 in 8 miss work or lose, and 1 in 7 re-locate.
Unrelated to stalking, according to statistics released by the FBI, every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted, every 6 minutes someone in the US is raped and every 34 minutes, someone is murdered. January also raises awareness about the importance of self defense. Self Defense is a multi-tiered defense and consists of knowing when to run and when and how to fight.
Until society becomes civilized and people remember how to act with decorum and dignity, its important to recognize when one is a victim, and how to defend oneself.