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What You Should Know About Stalking

Dr. Amanda M. Stylianou, senior director of research and program development at Safe Horizon, discusses the impact stalking has on individuals and the resources and tools available to support survivors.

By Dr. Amanda Stylianou
January 1, 2017

To raise awareness and speak about stalking, I will discuss the impact stalking has on individuals and the resources and tools available to support survivors.

Natalia’s Story

*Natalia was experiencing stalking from her son’s father when she came to the Safe Horizon Bronx Family Court Program to obtain an order of protection.

“My son’s father he’s been really aggressive…He’s been coming to my house, he’s been having me followed. My boyfriend and I, he’s been following us. He’s making threats….I’m being threatened and he’s threatening my boyfriend and contacting my family and things like that. It’s just uncalled for and I don’t feel safe…He has threatened to murder me…He has threatened to, to also cause harm to my family if I guess we go against whatever he is trying to do…He has taken my son out of state and refused to bring him back until he was ready…I’m a woman. I cannot protect myself against a man, you know, but so far or but so much. And it’s just something I don’t think I should have to worry about…He makes references that, you know, like he sees me, he sees me doing this, or he sees me at this place…and it’s just like the only way you could be at all these places, that you know, I’m here is if you’re following me…It’s just enough is enough.”

And at Safe Horizon, we hear stories like Natalia’s every day of the year.

Learn More About Stalking

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking can include a vast array of behaviors including:

  • Repeated, unwanted, invasive, and fear-provoking communications via the phone, mail, email, texts, or social media;
  • Following the victim and/or waiting outside of the victim’s home, school, or work;
  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets;
  • Obtaining personal information about the victim through public records, internet searches, social media, hiring private/ investigators, following the victim, or contacting the victim’s friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors;
  • Entering the victim’s home, car, or work and doing something to scare the victim and let the victim know the perpetrator has been there.

And every year in the United States 7.5 million people are stalked. Approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking at some point in their lifetime. And for both male and female victims of stalking, the perpetrator is most often someone known to the victim.

  • Two thirds of the female victims of stalking (66.2%) reported stalking by a current or former intimate partner and nearly a quarter (24.0%) reported stalking by an acquaintance, whereas only 1 in 8 female victims (13.2%) reported stalking by a stranger.
  • 4 in 10 male stalking victims (41.4%) reported stalking by an intimate partner and 4 in 10 male stalking victims (40.0%) reported they had been stalked by an acquaintance, whereas only one-fifth (19.0%) reported stalking by a stranger and 5.3% reported being stalked by a family member.

At Safe Horizon, we provide a range of services to support victims of stalking. From our 24/7 hotline to our Family and Criminal Court Programs to our Community Programs, we offer a comprehensive continuum of care to support victims in identifying safety plans and resources that will best support clients increase their safety. To learn more about what we do to support victims of stalking, click here.

* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.

  • Amanda M. Stylianou

    Amanda M. Stylianou, PhD, LCSW, is the senior director of research and program development at Safe Horizon. Dr. Stylianou has worked as an Advocate providing case management, supportive counseling, safety assessment and planning, and information and referrals to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at SAFE in Hunterdon. Dr. Stylianou has been a Research Associate at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at Rutgers and is an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work.