January 2022 marks the eighteenth annual National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM), an annual call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking.

Marywood Launches Community Stalking Awareness Campaign

January 2022 marks the 18th National Stalking Awareness Month, an annual call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking, with the theme “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” This is a call to action for everyone in the Marywood University community, the region, and across the country. While police and victim-serving professionals are critical, the reality is that the vast majority of victims tell friends or family about the stalking first.

Marywood University is offering month-long programming to promote awareness and public education about stalking during the annual observance, including an information table in the Learning Commons on Wednesday, January 19, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Additionally, Marywood’s Counseling/Student Development Center will hold a Zoom discussion about how stalking is portrayed in the media on Thursday, January 27, 7-9 p.m.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia, but can be difficult to recognize and prosecute in a system designed to respond to singular incidents rather than the series of acts that constitutes stalking. It is critical to raise the issue of stalking as its own form of gender-based violence as well as a crime that frequently predicts and co-occurs with physical and sexual assault. Stalking impacts over 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men in the United States—yet, despite the prevalence and impacts, many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its danger and urgency. 

Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear. Many stalking victims experience being followed, approached, monitored and/or threatened – including through various forms of technology. Victims and survivors often suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression as a result of their victimization, and many lose time from work and/or move. Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right as well as a predictor of potentially lethal violence: in 85 percent of cases where an intimate partner (i.e., boyfriend or husband) attempted to murder his female partner, stalking preceded the attack.

For more information about stalking awareness events at Marywood University, please contact Brandice Ricciardi at bricciardi@maryu.marywood.edu. For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit stalkingawareness.org and ovw.usdoj.gov or marywood.edu/csdc.