Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Teaching adolescents healthy relationship skills is one strategy CDC promotes to help you prevent stalking in your community.
Stalking involves a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are both unwanted and causes fear or safety concerns in the victim. These behaviors can come in the form of threatening phone calls, text messages, spying, or showing up at the victim’s home or workplace, and leaving unwanted gifts or cards. Stalking victims are often very fearful or believe that they or someone close to them could be harmed or killed as a result of the perpetrator’s behavior.
One in six women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking in their lifetimes.1 Most often, stalking occurs by someone they know or with whom they had an intimate relationship. For both men and women, victims who previously experienced stalking or sexual violence by any perpetrator, or physical violence by an intimate partner were significantly more likely to report adverse health conditions such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure compared to those with no history of these forms of violence.1
To prevent stalking, CDC promotes safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments. Starting prevention efforts early can prevent stalking from happening in adolescence and adulthood. Teaching healthy relationship skills and changing norms about violence and stalking are important strategies for prevention. More strategies and approaches that may be relevant for stalking prevention can be found in CDC’s Technical Packages for Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence:
- STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence
- Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices
- Smith, S.G., Chen, J., Basile, K.C., Gilbert, L., Merrick, M.T., Patel, N., Walling, M., and Jain, A. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State Report. Atlanta, Georgia. 2017.