Stalking Awareness Month: How NNEDV Works to End Stalking
January 9, 2015
What do you think of when you hear the term “stalking?” Is it Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction? Is it the “love” demonstrated in the song “Every Breath You Take” by The Police? Through characters and songs like these, we absorb cultural notions and views about what a stalker is and what they do.
However, with the glamorization and misrepresentation of stalking as “obsessive love” or the normalization of “just a little Facebook-stalking” of an ex, we have minimized the danger and severity of what stalking is and how it really affects survivors’ lives. Stalking is a serious issue, a terrifying crime, and an indicator that there may be even more red flags of abuse.
Through our signature programs, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) regularly addresses stalking. During Stalking Awareness Month (January), we bring awareness to the issue of stalking and highlight some of the ways that stalking and domestic violence intersect with our work.
WomensLaw.org provides legal information and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We also provide a number of stalking-related resources – including safety planning tips for stalking victims – and answer questions from survivors and advocates, like Can I get a restraining order if I’m being stalked and What exactly is stalking and cyberstalking?
We work to change stalking laws. In June 2014, our Executive Vice President, Cindy Southworth, testified before Congress on how location privacy and transparency is important for victims of stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Being watched, followed, and listened to is not uncommon for survivors; according to a report released in 2009 in a 12 month period, 3.4 million adults were stalked. Through this testimony, we lifted up the stories of survivors who have been stalked and the conversations that have taken place at the grassroots level, giving national voice to a devastating issue.
Through Safety Net we work with state-level entities and member coalitions, advocates, and survivors around technology, stalking, and privacy. Survivors are often stalked in their daily lives, which in this digital age, includes a range of technologies. We educate advocates to provide safety planning strategies around technology. We also provide in-depth consultations for police officers and technology companies about technology stalking and the implementation of new technologies.
Through all of our work, we strive to eradicate not only stalking, domestic violence, dating abuse, and sexual assault, but violence in all its forms. This month, we hope you will think twice before trivializing someone else’s trauma by joking about “Facebook-stalking” or “creeping on” anyone – if the person is not in fear for their safety, it’s not stalking. Stalking is serious. And we need to work together to make a change.