January is National Stalking Awareness Month. If you know someone who is experiencing a pattern of behavior that is causing them to feel fear or alter their everyday activities, there are ways to support them.
People who are being stalked may feel angry, irritated, fearful or embarrassed about their situation. Some people may attempt to minimize the unwanted behavior they are experiencing, saying things like, "It’s no big deal," even though you have noticed them making behavioral changes, such as changing their routine, avoiding certain locations, not going to class/work, asking friends to accompany them places.
Here are a few tips on how to help a friend who is being stalked:
- Take the situation seriously.
- Listen to what your friend needs to feel safe.
- Let your friend know what you are noticing and express your concern.
- Encourage your friend to keep a record of what has been happening.
- Please note: If you have experienced a similar situation, your friend’s reactions and choices may differ, and that is okay.
- Consider referring your friend to free and confidential advocacy, counseling and support services at CU’s Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) by calling 303-492-8855 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be aware if you start to feel compelled to become the person’s bodyguard. If this is happening, consider consulting with support for yourself. OVA is here for you, too! Getting support for yourself will allow you to be more available for your friend.
More information on national stalking awareness can be found at the Stalking Resource Center.
See the related CU Boulder Today stories January is Stalking Awareness Month (published Jan. 12) and Stalking Awareness Month: What is stalking? (published Jan. 19).