MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
January is Stalking Awareness Month and Marine and Family Services’ Family Advocacy Program wants base personnel to know that stalking doesn’t happen to just famous people and may not involve someone already in a relationship.
It may involve someone who wants your attention, someone whose advances you are not interested in, but who may use today’s technology to stalk you without you even knowing about it,” said Jamie Hurst, victim advocate, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The old definition of stalking is outdated, said Hurst, because there are so many ways a person may stalk another individual, beyond following them in a vehicle or loitering in areas where someone lives or works.
“Sending unwanted text messages or voicemails, or using technology to tap into your cell phone so they can read your text messages, or putting a tracer on your personal data assistant, or attaching a global positioning system device to your vehicle is stalking and should be treated seriously. Seventy-six percent of female homicide victims were stalked prior to their death and more than half of these victims reported the stalking before being murdered by their stalker,” added Hurst.
Before excessive e-mail or text and voice mail traffic becomes a stalking issue, Hurst says someone who is receiving the attention needs to let the sender know they aren’t interested in having contact with them.
If those activities continue after that, they should file a report with law enforcement and make family and friends aware of the situation, added Hurst.
An additional step for someone who feels they have a stalker is to contact Hurst to review their options as well as educate themselves about the stalking laws.
“If a military person is proven to have been involved in a stalking situation, the matter can be brought before the commander who now has power, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to take legal action.”
“The UCMJ was modified in 2006 to include stalking, which used to be included in larger domestic violence and abuse laws. Now, it has its own definition and can be pursued on its own,” added Hurst, who can be contacted at her office at (229) 639-7938 for further assistance.
January has been designated as Stalking Awareness Month by the federal government in an effort to educate parents, lawmakers, and community leaders on the ever-changing technology being used by stalkers and to encourage the review of state and local laws to ensure the inclusion of current and future technology.
Statistics show that more than one-million women and 370,000 men are stalked annually in the United States and 87 percent of stalkers are men. Overall, one in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime, according to figures released by the National Center for Victims of Crime.
The Stalking Resource Center is a program of the National Center for the Victims of Crime and is designed to raise awareness of stalking and to encourage the development of responses to stalking in communities across America.
For additional information, contact the Stalking Resource Center at (202) 467-8700, or visit them online at email@example.com. Locally, call Brenda Ray, coordinator, Health and Prevention, at (229) 639-7935 or Hurst at (229) 639-7938.