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Phoenix shelter calling for caution during National Stalking Awareness Month

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix shelter is using the month of January to encourage people to trust their instincts and play it safe when it comes to stalking.

“The majority of stalking happens by someone the victim may know,” Rosalie Hernandez,  program director at A New Leaf, said.

National numbers agreed with Hernandez’s statement. The Stalking Resource Center said nearly eight million people are stalked every year — most by a former significant other.

Hernandez said it is important for potential victims to not push aside feelings of being stalked.

“We would encourage them to really trust their instincts,” she said. “If [the victim is] feeling threatened in any way, they should really take [those feelings] seriously.”

Typical stalker behaviors include calling the victim multiple times, sending unwanted gifts and messages or damaging personal property, such as vehicles. Hernandez said it’s vital for victims to have a safety plan, and call 911 if they suspect stalking.

A New Leaf said typical symptoms a stalking victim might experience are fear, confusion, depression and changes in eating habits.

The Stalking Resource Center says 46 percent of stalking victims experience at least at least one unwanted contact per week. More than 10 percent have been stalked for 5 years or more.

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