January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is a crime that affects 3.4 million adults in the United States each year. Stalkers will send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails, repeatedly call, including hang-ups, follow their target and show up wherever they are, and threaten to hurt their victim, their family, friends, or pets.
Land of Lincoln Attorney Joan Spiegel says it is psychological abuse at its worst.
The stress and anxiety of being a victim of stalking can affect a person’s lifestyle, self-esteem, and ability to be employed. Many victims have to move, quit their jobs and seek counseling as a result of being victimized. Stalking laws have been put in place in all 50 states but less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.