Welcome back, everyone! I hope you had a great break and a good start to the semester!
January is national Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is a crime that is not always easily identified. However, stalking is real and can happen to anyone. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States. More than one in four victims report some form of technology was used by their stalker against them, and three in four stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. These statistics are shocking and make me realize I need to become more educated about stalking. It is a hard crime to see, but it affects a lot of people.
Know the signs of a stalker
- Repeatedly call and text you, including hang-ups
- Follow you and show up wherever you are
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards or e-mails
- Damage your home, car or other property
- Monitor our phone calls, computer use or social networking accounts
- Hack into your social networking accounts or email
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track you
- Drive by or hang out at your apartment/residence hall, outside your classroom or where you work
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends or pets
- Find out about you using public records or online search services; hiring private investigators; going through your garbage, or contacting your friends, classmates, family, neighbors or co-workers
- Take other actions that control or frighten you.
It is important to keep these signs in mind for your own safety and that of others. A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Stalking needs to be known, named and stopped.
Here at SHARPP, we care about your safety and want to raise awareness of stalking. Did you get a chance to stop by our table in the MUB and play our wheel activity? Participants spin the wheel and guess if the phrase they land on is a quote from a stalker or a lyric to a song. Participants were shocked to realize a lot of music romanticizes very possessive stalker language. Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” has always been one of my all-time favorite songs, but the line “I don’t mind spending every day, out on your corner in the pouring rain” does actually sound like stalking behavior. I never noticed this until I became more educated about stalking. Some of the quotes on the wheel from stalkers were “Come on baby we are meant to be,” and “I’ll call you until you answer me.” The wheel got people to start thinking about stalking and media messages and helped raise awareness of a crime that is not always discussed.
Anyone in the UNH community can get help at SHARPP by visiting us during our office hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.), calling our 24/7 Helpline (603) 862- SAFE or using our Ask an Advocate online service.