January is National Stalking Awareness Month
Every year, 6.6 million people in the United States are affected by stalking, defined as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing another person and threatening them, causing them to fear for their safety or that of their family. 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking, which has serious emotional, psychological, physical, and economic consequences for victims, their families, and their communities.
Compared to the general population, victims of stalking have a higher prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression. Acts of stalking include making unwanted phone calls, sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or emails, following or spying on victims, leaving unwanted items for the victim, and posting information or spreading rumors about the victim.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and LAS-ELC’s Project SURVIVE is working to raise awareness about this important issue while continuing to ensure that victims of stalking, domestic violence, and sexual assault can keep their jobs while seeking safety or medical or legal help. Staying employed while experiencing stalking can be a challenge, especially for low-wage workers. 12.5% of victims who are employed have to miss time at work as a result of the stalking; more than half lose 5 or more days of work. In some cases, this can lead to unfair punishment or wrongful termination.
Many stalking victims, along with their employers, may not be aware that they have special protections on the job. However, victims of stalking may be entitled to reasonable accommodations at the workplace; protection from discrimination or harassment; or job-protected time-off to go to court, obtain counseling, seek medical attention, or care for a family member who has a serious health condition (physical and mental) caused or worsened by the stalking.
For more information, call our toll-free SURVIVE helpline at (888) 864-8335. Or see http://www.las-elc.org/work-domestic-violence.html for fact sheets, videos, and other resources.
For more information on Stalking, please refer to:
The Stalking Resource Center’s “Stalking Fact Sheet”
U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Special Report, “Stalking Victimization in the United States.”
National Stalking Awareness Month