Stalkers Beware

Troy Frink

Women’s Center supports National Stalking Awareness Month

Each year, 3.4 million people fall victim to stalking crimes.

To increase public understanding, the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) launched National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) in January 2004.

In 2003, Debbie Riddle, wanting to transform a tragedy into something positive, called the Stalking Resource Center. This led to NSAM.

Several months prior to calling the Center, her sister, Peggy Klinke, was murdered by a stalker Riddle wanted to help improve law enforcement’s response to stalking and save lives.

Her call set in motion events that produced a Lifetime TV program and a training video for law enforcement.

In July 2003, Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) told Klinke’s story on Capitol Hill.

All 50 states have laws against stalking.

In both Missouri and Kansas, stalking is considered a misdemeanor on the first offense.

Researchers have found the following facts:

75 percent of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.

30 percent of victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.

25 percent of victims report being stalked through the use of technology, like e-mail or social media.

People 18-24 years old experience the highest rate of stalking.

The UMKC Women’s Center supported NSAM this year by setting up an information table at the Oak Street Residence Hall which provided pamphlets and other resources about stalking.

Kerra McCorkle, Violence Prevention Coordinator, staffed the table and asked questions and offered an online quiz to students.

Those who felt they were being stalked could pick up what McCorkle called a “stalking resource kit,” which included a camera, stalking log and information on what to do if one feels he or she is a victim of the crime.

The Women’s Center provides resources, which are available year-round to students.

The table also provided information on social media and stalking prevention.

“Facebook and Twitter make things easier for stalkers,” McCorkle said. “There you have all of your information out in the open.”

UMKC and the Women’s Center work with local police to make the campus as safe as possible.

“The Women’s Center does good work,” said Officer Patrick Tedesco, UMKC’s crime prevention officer, who stood beside McCorkle during the event. “Don’t be afraid to report it if you or someone you know is being stalked.”

Tedesco cautioned not to be oblivious to the crime.

“Stalking is more common than you think,” he said. “It can happen anywhere.”

To find out more information about stalking, visit National Stalking Awareness Month table at 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Jan. 25 in the Student Union.

The Women’s Center is located at 105 Haag Hall. More information about it can be found at www.umkc.edu/womenc/ [email protected]