January was National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is a form of violence that can culminate in ongoing harassment, assault, sexual assault, and intimate partner homicide. People of all genders can stalk others, though the Office on Violence against Women (OVW), one of Maine Boys to Men’s funders, is specifically interested in preventing male stalking toward women.
In January, we created a social media campaign about stalking. We shared that if someone feels they are being stalked, they can reach out to Through These Doors (they also have a program specifically for teens), Caring Unlimited, SARSSM, or New Hope Midcoast. We also shared some online resources: here, here, and here.
We wrote: “It may be hard to first notice when someone is stalking. They may begin by being enthusiastic about their new romantic relationship with you. But over time, that enthusiasm can shade into something more controlling and less comfortable. If you begin to feel uneasy, you should reach out to someone you trust. Make a plan to stay safe. You may need to block someone from your social media accounts or phone. You may need to stop seeing them in person, or not greet them if they show up where you live. We understand this can be hard to do. Be sure you have people you trust who can support you as you take difficult steps to distance yourself from someone stalking you.
“Remember that stalkers can get angry when you notice they are stalking you. They may do things to make you feel unsafe. Try to recognize their threats as their problem, not yours. Stay with a friend if you need to. Close your social media accounts. Get a new phone. Reach out to others, including professionals, for help.”