HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s National Stalking Awareness Month, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence wants to get the word out that stalking can come in many forms, including harassment on social media.
“There’s more venues for a stalker to try to contact or harass their victim, or then they can also make public threats,” said Julie Bancroft, who works for the coalition.
Bancroft says social media is one of many ways stalkers try to intimidate victims.
“Unwanted phone calls, text messages, emails and letters, or sending unwanted flowers or gifts to the victim,” said Bancroft.
The crime happens everywhere, including right here in central Pennsylvania.
The coalition says more than six million Americans are victims of stalking each year. That’s one in six women and one in 19 men.
“Stalking becomes a crime when there’s two unwanted acts directed toward the victim,” said Bancroft. “The period of time does not matter. It also has to create reasonable fear of bodily injury for the victim or significant emotional distress.”
A common misconception about stalkers is that they are strangers. But the coalition says more often than not, they are someone a person already knows.
“There is definitely a link between domestic violence and stalking,” said Bancroft. “You can contact your local law enforcement to file a criminal complaint.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, here is a link to resources: http://www.pcadv.org/Find-Help/