This month is National Stalking Awareness Month and a domestic violence shelter is working to make sure everyone knows the signs to prevent it.
The Care Lodge in Meridian offers help and advice to victims of stalking.
They have taken to social media, being an advocate for National Stalking Awareness Month.
Bringing awareness that stalking is a crime that predicts and usually occurs with physical and sexual violence.
“In those cases, we see that about two-thirds of them, that have been verbally threatened for harm or even their life being taken are actually harmed”, said Sara Smith, Community Coordinator at Care Lodge.
According to the Center of Disease Control 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking in their lifetimes.
It is suggested that in cases of stalking, you should trust your gut.
“ A lot of the times a victim may say ‘Oh I received flowers, or oh I received a gift or ticket to that huge NBA game’, it looks great on the outside to somebody that doesn’t understand, but to that victim it’s terrifying because that might be an example of that perpetrator knowing where they’re at”, said Smith.
Stalking can even occur online, which is known as cyberstalking.
“We’ll see that they’ll create spoof accounts online like fake multiple –multiple profiles with fake numbers and names and pictures to friend that other partner or ex-partner”, said Smith.
The Care Lodge lends a helping hand to those that are victims of stalking.
“ When we speak with somebody who is experiencing stalking we really get into safety planning, so we ask them who knows about your situation do you feel like you have anyone in your corner to support you, obviously we are there to be with that person and be their champion for safety but do you have friends , do you have family members that are aware of what’s going on and do they see the intensity of the actions”, said Smith.
If you are a victim of stalking or know someone that is, you can contact a crisis helpline or victim services agency.
The VictimConnect Helpline provides information and referrals for victims of all crime and can be reached at 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846).
Addditional information can be found at https://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/past-programs/stalking-resource-center.