National Stalking Awareness Month

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According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, one in six women and one in19 men say they've been stalked in their lifetime.

More than half of female victims and more than a third of male victims, say they were stalked before age 25.

6.6 million people are stalked each year in the U.S.

"We have seen it through all walks of life. Different ages, different relationships, it's very common for a lot of victims that we see. It happens a lot more than people think. A lot of the clients that come in are being stalked. When they try to leave the abusive relationship, it's very common that the abuser try to follow them, keep up with their every movement whether it's electronic or in their car,” House of Ruth Shelter Coordinator Ramona Nall said.

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous.
No two stalking situations are the same but stalkers do sometimes show similar traits.

“A lot of these perpetrators are definitely seekers of power and control - Want to control that victim completely, know what they're doing and know who they're with," Nall said.

Nall has seen stalking turn violent and get out of hand quickly.

"I've seen a really bad situation where somebody's been stalked in their car and hurt very badly," Nall said.

But what can you do? First - "Trust your instincts, if you feel like something's not right when you show up somewhere go with that gut feeling," Nall said.

If that gut feeling tells you you're in serious danger call the police.

"Don't answer your phone if he's calling over and over; just try not to respond to any attempts when he's contacting you to give him that attention. Keep evidence of your stalking, keeping a journal - anything you can write down, file those police reports and have it documented what is going on and how often," Nall said.

The House of Ruth is here to help, whether you need to come into shelter to be safe or need assistance with a protection order.

"If you reach out for help you'll realize you're not alone. A lot of people have gone through this, people who work here at House of Ruth have gone through incidents of this kind," Nall said.

Stalking charges in Alabama can result in misdemeanor all the way up to felony charges.