Health

MENTAL HEALTH

Stalking, a serious

problem we need to address

Stalking is a terrifying notion. The thought of someone following you with or without your awareness is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies. 

January is National Stalking Awareness Month.  It’s a call to action to take more steps to stop these creeps and help those who are being affected by their actions.

These actions toward a specific person elicit a considerable amount of fear and include showing up unwarranted to the location of the victim, following the victim from a distance and making unwanted phone calls.

Most victims of this crime know the perpetrator, who is usually an ex, a friend or an acquaintance. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15.2% of women and 5.7% of men have been the unfortunate targets of stalkers within their lifetimes. 

Sadly, stalking over the long-term can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of the victim. 

The victims can experience depression, insomnia and anxiety. 

Anxiety seems to be especially prevalent as 46% of victims live in fear of not knowing what will happen next and 29% are afraid the stalking will never end.

The constant fear of stalking has consequences. It is estimated that 1 in 8 victims of stalking lose or take time off of work, which can affect job performance. 

Unfortunately, the incidents tend to start when the victims are young (CDC.) Almost 54% and 48% of female victims are estimated to have had the stalking start 

before the age of 25 years. 

Stalking is a very difficult situation and victims might not know what to do or who to contact. While the obvious thing to do would be to speak to the authorities, victims may be too afraid to for fear of retaliation.

However, it’s crucial to speak to someone, whether it be a family member or friend. Other people need to know what’s going on and can assist with going to the police department to report the incidents. 

For resources and information, stalkingawareness.org.

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news@gazette20.com

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