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Stalking: a serious problem in Georgia and across the country

Violence against victims in Georgia and nationally obviously takes many forms. With increased frequency, stalking is becoming more of a problem across the country, with millions of persons being victimized by this form of harassment.

As is widely reported, both women and men -- and, increasingly, children -- are victims of stalking, which can assume many forms and, tragically, unfold with deadly consequences.

Although stalking activity is often engaged in by persons unknown to their victims, stalking behavior is also a problem of domestic abuse in that it results in family violence. In other words, and in a high number of instances, a stalker is known by the victim, often being an ex-spouse with lingering post-divorce issues or former unmarried partner.

Persons who regard stalking as a relatively minor problem in the United States would be mistaken in that assumption. In fact, such behavior is truly widespread, with the national Stalking Resource Center estimating that about 6.6 million people are stalked annually across the nation.

The sheer magnitude of the problem has resulted in National Stalking Awareness Month, which is being marked nationally for the 10th time this January. Publicizing the problem in such a way promotes education and places stalking under a spotlight that will hopefully result in a curbing of stalking activities.

Those range widely, encompassing far more than the mere following of a person in public places. Stalking also includes activities such as placing unwanted phone calls, sending threatening email messages and using social media sites on the Internet to frighten or harass victims.

As noted by the Marietta Times, stalking should never be condoned or go unreported. The paper cites a toll-free number for persons to report stalking activity.

That number is 1-800-974-3111.

Source: The Marietta Times, "Stalking awareness month comes in January," Dec. 21, 2013

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