Stalking is often depicted in popular media by a hooded stranger creeping in the shadows, following their victims at a distance, always watching them. In reality, stalking takes on many forms, and sometimes occurs without the offender ever having to leave their home. With the rise in social media, methods of stalking have become even more advanced, and it is that much more important to understand the elements of stalking, and the potential lethality of the overall behavior.
- Stalking is considered a felony upon first offense in the state of Colorado.
- Colorado Law, or “Vonnie’s Law,” defines stalking as:
1) a credible threat, and/or
2) repeated behavior, that reasonably causes someone to be afraid or suffer serious emotional distress.
- “Vonnie’s Law” further states that stalking behaviors are identified as following, approaching, putting under surveillance, communicating with or making threats to or regarding the individual, friends or immediate family of the individual, and other repeated patterns or contacts that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.
- All 50 states have laws against stalking, but less than 1/3 of the states classify stalking as a felony at first offense .
- 1 in every 6 women and 1 out of every 19 men in the United states have been stalked in their lifetime.
- 3 out of 4 stalking victims know their stalkers, including family, current or former intimate partners, and acquaintances.
- 66% of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- 76% of female homicide victims killed by a current of former intimate partner were stalked by their murderer prior to their death.
- Of male stalking victims, 48% reported they were stalked by another male, and 45% by a female.
- People aged 18-24 have the highest rates of stalking victimization.
- Cyber-stalking is a form of stalking that utilizes technology to harass, threaten, or follow a person.
- Cyber-stalking includes tracking or monitoring a victim’s whereabouts and actions using GPS on their phone or vehicle, and/or through social media; sending threatening messages and images by email, social media, or text; hacking a victim’s personal accounts (including email, social media, and phone) to monitor, harass, or discredit the victim; and posting personal information, such as date of birth, social security number, and phone number on the internet.
- Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction than the general population.
- 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplated suicide.
- 37% of stalking victims fulfill the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- 86% of stalking victims surveyed reported that their personalities had changed as a result of being stalked.
If you, a friend, or loved one, are the victim of stalking, or would like to know more about the facts of stalking, please know that you aren’t alone, and that help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656
Statistics provided by:
The Office for Victims of Crime
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence