First-Ever Presidential Proclamation of National Stalking Awareness Month
In one year alone, 3.4 million adults in the United States were stalked (2009, Bureau of Justice Statistics). Young women 18-24 are at the greatest risk of being stalked. Despite its prevalence, stalking is little understood by many people, who may think only celebrities are stalked or that stalking isn’t harmful. On the contrary, stalking is a dangerous crime that takes a profound toll on its victims, who are often afraid for their safety and try repeatedly to escape their stalkers. Stalking can happen to anyone and most victims know their stalkers.
Recognizing this serious crime, President Obama became the first President to proclaim January as National Stalking Awareness Month. The Obama Administration has taken significant strides to create an unprecedented, comprehensive strategy to combat violence against women. Shining a light on the hidden crime of stalking is part of that strategy, and a key part of our work to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.
Stalking is one of the four crimes addressed in the Violence Against Women Act, and is often connected to domestic violence and sexual assault. Seventy-six percent of female intimate partner homicide victims had been stalked by their intimate partners. The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is a Federal leader on efforts to reduce stalking. OVW Director Susan Carbon said, “The motto to “KNOW IT, NAME IT, AND STOP IT” captures the focus of January’s awareness campaign… Educating ourselves and each other is an important step to encouraging and supporting victims to report the crime and stop the abuse.”
As the President stated in his proclamation:
“This National Stalking Awareness Month, let us acknowledge stalking as a serious crime and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors, and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans.”
To learn more about stalking and Stalking Awareness Month, visit the following website http://www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org/.
Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women