Gov. Granholm declares January Stalking Awareness Month
Jan. 2, 2008
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm has proclaimed January as Stalking Awareness Month in Michigan, urging people to learn more about stalking and its role in intimate partner violence.
The National Institute of Justice reports that nearly 1.5 million people are stalked each year in the United States, one in every 12 women and one in every 45 men.
An estimated 81 percent of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner also are physically assaulted by the stalker. A recent study "Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide" found that 76 percent of femicide victims and 85 percent of attempted femicide victims had been stalked by their intimate partner in the year prior to the death or assault.
"Stalking Awareness Month provides an opportunity to get the critical message out that help is available for stalking survivors in every Michigan county," said Debra Cain, executive director of the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. "Domestic violence programs through the state offer stalking survivors help with safety planning, counseling and advocacy. There is help for those suffering from this terrible crime."
Stalking is illegal in every state, and Michigan passed some of the country's strongest stalking laws in 1993. The law defines stalking as a willful course of conduct of repeating or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested and actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed or molested.
"Stalking is a serious crime that has the potential to escalate into a very dangerous situation," said Colonel Peter C. Munoz, director of the Michigan State Police. "As soon as you suspect you may be a victim of stalking, you should contact law enforcement."
The Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board funds agencies that provide advocacy, prevention, counseling and shelter services for survivors of stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault. Members of this legislatively-enacted board are appointed by the governor. The board is housed administratively within the Michigan Department of Human Services.
Anyone who is being stalked or abused can find local help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-787-3224 TTY or visit the on-line resource directory at www.michigan.gov/domesticviolence
For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dhs