Georgia Southern observes Stalking Awareness Month
January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects millions of victims each year throughout our nation. The theme – “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” – challenges Georgia Southern University students, faculty and staff to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships. Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.
Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime, but rather a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system (GPS) devices or hidden cameras to track the victim’s daily activities. Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victim from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes.
Communities and campuses that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime. “As more people learn to recognize stalking, we have a better opportunity to direct victims to critical resources and to prevent tragic outcomes,” said Joel Wright, JD, director of Georgia Southern University’s Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.
To learn more about stalking, please visit: http://www.justice.gov/ovw/stalking
If you are a Georgia Southern student, faculty or staff member and feel you may be a victim of stalking, please contact the Office of Public Safety at 912-478-5234. To receive an email or brochure on “Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment” (which addresses domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and services available), please call the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office at 912-478-5136.
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. GeorgiaSouthern.edu