The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


United States

Ways to Support Stalking Awareness Month – #12

Hold a candlelight vigil to honor victims killed following stalking.  There is a link between stalking behavior and increased risk of death.   The Stalking Resource Center released statistics that identify

  • 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
  • 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
  • 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
  • 79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.
  • 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.

More than 13 percent of women report having been stalked in college. Eighty-one percent of victims who were stalked by an intimate partner also report physical abuse. And 54 percent of female murder victims reported stalking to police before their stalkers killed them – while 76 percent of all those murdered were stalked at least once in the 12 months prior to their death.

Read more:


Ways to Support Stalking Awareness Month #9 – subscribe to journals to keep educated

Subscribe to local blogs or journals to get regular information on stalking and interpersonal violence in your community.

The Source: Stalking in the News

OVW Blog

SafetyWeb – a site about cyber stalking

In Virginia:

Joining the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance provides you with a subscription to their journal: Revolution

Ways to support Stalking Awareness in your community #7 – Learn about it.

Learn about the history of National Stalking Awareness Month.  “In January 2004, the National Center for Victims of Crime launched National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) to increase the public’s understanding of the crime of stalking. NSAM emerged from the work of the Stalking Resource Center, a National Center program funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, to raise awareness about stalking and help develop and implement multidisciplinary responses to the crime.   Read more about the history by the National Stalking Awareness Month. org.

Read the Stalking Fact Sheet for more information on statistics of stalking and it’s relation to other interpersonal crime.


Ways to Support Stalking Awareness #6 – Support a Victim

If you suspect someone is a victim, ask if they are safe or need someone to talk to. Explain that free and confidential services are available at their local sexual or domestic violence program.

RAINN has a list of Sexual Assault Centers around the nation.

In Virginia, the Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance has a list of centers around the state.

The Virginia Commonwealth University has tips for students.


Ways to Support Stalking Awareness in Your Community #4 – Appreciation

Are there programs or individuals in your community who has worked to stop stalking or raise awareness?  Recognize those folks for their very important work whether public officials, community members, law enforcement officials, non-profit workers, or volunteers–anyone in your community who has worked to stop stalking–with a certificate of appreciation.

Stalking Awareness Month has a a sample certificate you can download and use:

Certificates of Appreciation

Contact your local radio/TV stations and ask them to air some short Public Service Announcements (PSA)

National Stalking Awareness has some Sample Public Service Announcements for you to use:
Public service announcements (PSAs), brief on-air messages, can reach millions of potential NSAM supporters. Contact the public service departments at local radio and
TV stations, and ask if they will air your PSA. Offer them the sample PSAs below, which can be used as “live-copy” scripts for an announcer to read on the air or for the
station to adapt for its own PSA. Remember to include your organization’s local contact information in your PSA.
15-second PSA:
Did you know stalking affected 6.6 million Americans in one year? Stalking is a dangerous crime that can happen to anyone. If you or someone you know is being
stalked, contact [Name of Organization] at [phone number], or visit [website].
30-second PSA:
Imagine that you don’t feel safe. Someone is following you, texting and e-mailing you, and you are afraid. In one year, 6.6 million Americans were victims of stalking—a
dangerous crime that can happen to anyone. If you or anyone you know is being stalked, or to find out more about stalking, contact [Name of Organization] at [phone number], or visit [website].

Ways to Support Stalking Awareness in your community #3 – Tweet about it!

31 Days of Status Updates

Each day in January you can help raise awareness about stalking. Just use one of the suggested messages
for your social networking site status update, your tweet, or your Instant Message (IM) away message. If
you’re tweeting, add #NSAM to the end of the tweet!  Stalking Awareness has a sheet of suggestions for you.  Just copy and post!

January 1, 2013 – January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Visit for more info.
January 2, 2013 – Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
January 3, 2013 – What are you doing to recognize National Stalking Awareness Month? Visit for more info.
January 4, 2013 – Stalking is a crime that is pervasive, dangerous, and potentially lethal. Visit for more info.
January 5, 2013 – 6.6 million people are stalked each year in the United States. Visit for more info.
January 6, 2013 – What would you say to a friend who told you they were being stalked? Visit for more info.
January 7, 2013 – It’s not a joke. It’s not romantic. It’s not ok. Stop stalking. It’s a crime. Visit for more info.
January 8, 2013 – Although women are more likely to be stalked than men, anyone can be a victim of stalking. Visit for more info.
January 9, 2013 – 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men will be victims of stalking in their lifetime. Visit for more info.
January 10, 2013 – Stalking is a crime. Do you know what your state stalking law says? Visit for more info.

January 11, 2013 – Would you report it if you were being stalked? Most victims don’t. Visit for more info.
January 12, 2013 – Stalking is often treated as a joke or “not that big of a deal.” Why do you think that is? Visit for more info.
January 13, 2013 – What services are available for stalking victims in your community? Visit for more info.
January 14, 2013 – Intimate partner stalking is the most common type of stalking and the most dangerous. Visit for more info.

January 15, 2013 – Try this: Google “track girlfriend” and see how many sites tell someone how to stalk. Visit for more info.

January 16, 2013 – Phones, computers, GPS, and cameras are some of  the common forms of technology used by stalkers.

January 17, 2013 – What messages about stalking are in the media? Tweet us what you see. For examples:

January 18, 2013 – Rates of stalking among college students are higher than the general public. Visit for more info.

January 19, 2013 – How young can stalking behavior start? Do you see stalking behaviors among high school students? Middle school students? Younger?

January 20, 2013 – Most stalking victims know their stalker. Visit for more info.

January 21, 2013 – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 22, 2013 – Stalkers often reoffend; recidivism rates are as high as 60%. Visit for more info.                                                                       

January 23, 2013 – Behaviors that may seem benign to you or me may be terrorizing to a stalking victim. Visit for more info.

January 24, 2013 – Stalking can affect a victim’s emotional, physical, and economic well-being. Visit for more info.

January 25, 2013 – Most alarmingly, stalking also can be lethal. Visit for more info.    

January 26, 2013 – Stalkers often access information about victims that is available online. Do you know what information about you is online?                                              

January 27, 2013 – Victims of stalking are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including emails, texts & phone messages.                                                         

January 28, 2013 – It is important to consider how to victims may be harmed by stalkers’ use of technology. Visit for more info.                          

January 29, 2013 – The majority of stalking victims report losing time from work as well as income because of the stalking.                                                                                 

January 30, 2013 – Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it. Visit for more info.                                                                                                                             

January 31, 2013 – How will you continue your efforts to raise awareness about stalking throughout the year? Visit for more info.

VAWA is stalling in the House

It is unbelievable that the Violence Against Women Act is still in debate.  If over 20 House Republicans are supporting the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate, how is it that it still won’t go through?  How can Republicans halt this non-partisan issue and historically bipartisan bill and still feel good about representing their constituency?

For those who are focusing on this issue for the first time, the reauthorization of VAWA was allowed to defunct.  The bill this year is asking for it to be reestablished and added provisions that address concerns and gaps still in existence.  These additions are not really new but rather adding a defined focus to groups of women who are even more marginalized and at risk for violence:  undocumented victims of domestic violence, LGBTQ victims of violence, and Native American victims of violence.  What the House Republicans are specifically objecting to are that; the bill increases the number of visas available to undocumented victims of domestic violence, the bill proposes to deny grant money to organizations that discriminate against LGBT victims of domestic violence, and the bill allows Native American tribal courts to prosecute non-tribe members who are accused of abusing their Native American partners.

The Senate did address one item in advance of sending it to the Hill: Senate Democrats removed the section of the draft VAWA that would have granted more visas to undocumented victims of domestic violence who cooperate with police against their abusers.  Republicans are charging that increasing the number of visas available would lead to fraud; although it is clear that law enforcement determines whether an individual has been helpful in an investigation and is therefore eligible for such a visa.  The clarification of what fraud would happen is not clear.  The National Congress of American Indians has stated that these changes (requiring the tribal courts to gain permission of the US attorney general before prosecuting a non-member) make it harder to prosecute non-tribe members and harder to protect victims of violence.  Additionally, the protections that have been in place up to now (courts can issue civil protection orders) will now have additional barriers in place to request and process these protection orders, by requiring a that a criminal threshold be met in order to exercise civil authority.  The National Congress of American Indians opposes this an unnecessary burden placed on tribal courts and an increased barrier to prosecuting perpetrators for victims.

However, this compromise was made and it passed the Senate with 78 votes.  Even with this compromise, House Republicans are still not willing to support reauthorizing protection for victims of domestic violence.  And they still are failing to fully protect under-served survivors who identify as LGBTQ by removing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the list of populations who encounter barriers to services and failing to require grant funded programs to provide their services to every victim of violence, regardless of orientation and/or identity.  To further negatively impact LGBTQ victims of violence and increase their barriers to services, the bill excludes the LGBTQ community from the largest VAW grant program, STOP.  (The Centers for Disease Control has found that same-sex couples experience domestic violence at the same rates as heterosexual couples.)

Help us get VAWA passed to ensure protection for all victims of domestic violence.

To Read: Wartime Sexual Violence: Misconceptions, Implications, and Ways Forward

For those of you interested in sexual violence in conflict and war, here is an excellent report to address misconceptions held by society, implications for our communities’ health and well-being, as well as politics and suggestions for policy-makers to create change for the future.
February 2013 | Special Report of the United States Institute of Peace by Dara Kay Cohen, Amelia Hoover Green, and Elisabeth Jean Wood

This report was launched as a result of the implementation of The Missing Peace Symposium on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict settings.   The following organisations collaborated to address the issues of conflict-related sexual violence with the goal to identify gaps in knowledge, gaps in reporting, and to identify means to increase effectiveness of response:  United States Institute of Peace (USIP); the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley; the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO); and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute North America (SIPRI North America).

The authors identify and summarize ten major misconceptions about wartime sexual violence.  They go on to highlight not only gaps in knowledge but advances already being made that can be replicated to reduce sexual violence in conflict and create safer communities. Additionally, for policy-makers, their report outlines the implications of these findings for policy-making as a means to correct institutional and state sanctioned patterns of misconduct.

Some of the more notable facts discovered and salient points made by the authors:

  • Rape as a tactic in wartime rape is not inevitable nor widespread. A reality is that sexual violence varies from country to country, type of conflict, and within armed factions or groups. To be recognized is that some political factions or armed groups can and do prohibit sexual violence. This evidence of variation and presence of positive action from some armed groups leads to the conclusion that policy interventions should also be focused on armed groups, and that commanders in effective control of their troops can be and are, in fact, legally liable for patterns of sexual violence they fail or refuse to prevent.
  • Rape in conflict and wartime rape can happen anywhere.  It is not specific to certain types of conflicts, to geographic regions, or to ethnic or non-ethnic wars.
  • State forces are more likely to be reported as perpetrators of sexual violence than rebels. This may indicate that States may be more susceptible than rebels to naming and shaming campaigns around sexual violence as an impact of institutionalized belief systems perpetuated.
  • Perpetrators and victims are not always who we expect them to be. Perpetrators of sexual violence are often not armed soldiers or rebels but can be civilians. Perpetrators also are not exclusively male, nor are victims exclusively female. Policymakers should not neglect non-stereotypical perpetrators and victims.
  • Rape in wartime rape is often not an intentional strategy of war: it is more frequently tolerated than ordered. Nonetheless, as the authors noted above, commanders in effective control of their troops are legally liable for sexual violence perpetrated by those troops.
  • Within gaps identified, in particular, existing data cannot determine conclusively whether wartime sexual violence on a global level is increasing, decreasing, or holding steady.  To date, much remains unknown about the patterns and causes of wartime sexual violence and further study and action is required.  To that end, policymakers should instead focus on variation at lower levels of aggregation, and especially across armed groups.

The Authors and their connection to Anti-Violence Work

Dara Kay Cohen is an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, is completing a book project on wartime rape during recent civil conflicts.
Amelia Hoover Green is an assistant professor of political science at Drexel University, is focusing her current book on armed group’s efforts to control repertoires of violence against civilians.
Both Cohen and Hoover Green were USIP Peace Scholars in 2008 and 2009.
Elisabeth Jean Wood is a professor of political science at Yale University and was a USIP Peace Scholar in 1993 and 1994. Her work focuses on political violence, civil war, and social movements. She is completing a book manuscript titled Wartime Sexual Violence.
The report was written by the authors in their personal capacities, and the views are theirs alone.


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