I Bet You Didn't Know....
October is ALSO domestic violence awareness month. Since it shares the month with breast cancer awareness, domestic violence is sometimes overshadowed by many campaigns like early detection seminars, find a cure walks, and many survival stories. For women, October is an important month. Both breast cancer awareness and domestic violence awareness help educate women on ways to reduce their risks.
In the United States, one in four women experience some type of abuse in her life. Whether the abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or economic, this is an alarming statistic. Most women do not report abuse, especially most physical or sexual assaults. What is more alarming is that an intimate partner murders each year more than 1,200 women.
It is time for those suffering abuse to speak out. They need to realize that they are not the only ones who are in abusive relationships. There are several resources available to help end the cycle of domestic violence.
For support and more information please call the
National Domestic Violence Hotline at
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or at TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Like domestic violence, stalking is a crime of power and control. Stalking is conservatively defined as "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, non-consensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear."  Stalking behaviors also may include persistent patterns of leaving or sending the victim unwanted items or presents that may range from seemingly romantic to bizarre, following or laying in wait for the victim, damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property, defaming the victim's character, or harassing the victim via the Internet by posting personal information or spreading rumors about the victim.
According to the CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS),1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have been stalked during their lifetime. For both female and male victims, stalking was often committed by people they knew or with whom they had a relationship. Two-thirds of the female victims of stalking (66.2%) reported stalking by a current or former intimate partner and nearly one-quarter (24.0%) reported stalking by an acquaintance. About 1 in 8 female victims (13.2%) reported stalking by a stranger. 
Stalking can be carried out in person or via electronic mechanisms (phone, fax, GPS, cameras, computer spyware, or the Internet). Cyber-stalking—the use of technology to stalk victims—shares some characteristics with real-life stalking. It involves the pursuit, harassment, or contact of others in an unsolicited fashion initially via the Internet and e-mail. Cyber-stalking can intensify in chat rooms where stalkers systematically flood their target's inbox with obscene, hateful, or threatening messages and images. A cyber-stalker may further assume the identity of his or her victim by posting information (fictitious or not) and soliciting responses from the cybercommunity. Cyberstalkers may use information acquired online to further intimidate, harass, and threaten their victim via courier mail, phone calls, and physically appearing at a residence or work place.
Although cyberstalking does not involve physical contact with a victim, it is still a serious crime. The increasing ubiquity of the Internet and the ease with which it allows others unusual access to personal information, have made this form of stalking ever more accessible. Potential stalkers may find it easier to stalk via a remote device such as the Internet rather than to confront an actual person. Conduct that falls short of the legal definition of stalking may in fact be a precursor to stalking and must be taken seriously.  As part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005, Congress extended the Federal interstate stalking statute to include cyberstalking (18 U.S.C. §2261 A).