- 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
- The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
“Stalking” has a very specific meaning: “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” We use the word a lot,. but with very little awareness of what it means. And that can diminish the seriousness with which we treat the problem of stalking, which is widespread and real.
So this Stalking Awareness Month, there’s one thing – one hard, little thing – you can do to change that: call people out when they misuse the word. A simple, “surely there’s a better word for it than that?” will do. Keep your ears pricked for the word, and you’ll be surprised at how often you hear it. Quietly and politely call people out on misusing it, and you’ll be pleased at how easy it is to make awareness – and understanding – contagious.