January is National Stalking Awareness Month!
Stalking is far more common than you may actually realize. Did you know that 1 in 17 men and 1 in 6 women will have experienced stalking over their lifetimes’? Or that an estimated 6-7.5 million people are stalked in a one year period in the United States. Protecting yourself and those you love from stalking starts with awareness.
Stalking, which is considered an “extraordinary risk” crime and is charged as a felony upon first offense, is defined by Colorado State Law (CRS 18-3-602) as:
1) a credible threat, and/or
2) repeated behavior, that reasonably causes someone to be afraid or suffer serious emotional distress.
Such repeated behaviors can include putting the victim under surveillance, tracking the victim’s whereabouts using GPS devices, following or approaching the victim, showing up at places the victim frequents, making threats against the victim, their friends and/or family, sending unwanted gifts and messages, and monitoring or hacking social media or other online accounts.
Knowing what to do if you are experiencing stalking can be a difficult task. While multiple options may be open to you, such as reporting to law enforcement or seeking a civil protection order, a key factor in starting these steps is to document as much as you can before taking the next step. Keeping a notepad detailing the date, time, location, and if there were any witnesses to an incident, as well as any evidence of the incident in question (screen shots, pictures, video, letters or cards, gifts, etc.), can make a big difference as you proceed. Maintaining this documentation can demonstrate the frequency, severity, and impact of the stalking, as well as potentially highlight possible escalation.
It is important to recognize that while stalking can leave you feeling isolated, you are not alone and support is available to you. AVRC is able to assist in navigating your situation and is available 24/7.
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656
Stalking video and statistics provided by Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center.
AVRC is a non-discriminatory agency regarding age, race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.