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Stalking and Aging

January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Like with abuse, it’s crucial to discuss stalking and how to protect our community’s most vulnerable residents.   

What is stalking? 

The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, & Resource Center (SPARC) defines stalking as “a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” Stalking is a pattern of behavior that requires 2 or more behaviors.  

What can stalking look like? 

  • Following a person 
  • Repeated unwanted contact 
  • Surveillance 
  • Spreading rumors 
  • Verbal threats  
  • 1 in 4 stalking victims reported experiencing some form of cyberstalking (e.g., via e-mail or instant messaging) 
  • Lots of behaviors associated with emotional abusive can also be seen as stalking 
  • Keep in mind that the definition of stalking can vary from state to state. Click here for a detailed list of behaviors considered to be stalking under Michigan law.  

Stalking could include obvious acts like following a victim in a car or showing up unannounced at a place of work, but it can also include subtle acts to make the victim uneasy (e.g., leaving a coffee cup in the victim’s car or breaking into the victim’s home and leaving on all the lights).  

How common is stalking?  

What should you do if you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of stalking? 

  • Trust your gut. If something feels off, report it. 
  • Call 911 if you or a loved one is in immediate danger. 
  • In Washtenaw County you can contact Safehouse Center at (734) 995-5444 
  • Make sure to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING 
  • Make sure to tell trusted friends or family members about the situation. 
  • Not sure what to do or need more help? Contact these national resources: 
    • Victim Connect- victimconnect.org, 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846) 
    • National Sexual Assault Hotline- RAINN.org, 800-656-HOPE (4673) 
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline- thehotline.org, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)  
  • Remember: stalking is a crime in all 50 states!  

Visit the Ahead of the Curve Resource Directory to learn more about domestic violence resources

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