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Stalking Awareness Month at FSS of MFSD

Did you know 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking? During Stalking Awareness Month this January, Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage worked to educate our communities around the importance of staying informed about this issue.

Anisha Bhatia, Senior Prevention Educator at FSS of MFSD, explains stalking:

“Over the last decade, with the growing popularity of social media and technology, we heard the word stalking thrown around in a variety of different ways. Phrases like, “Just stalk their Instagram!” and “You’re such a stalker,” are used in our everyday language. It is used humorously but we know that is a very real issue for many of our clients.  

So—what is stalking? Stalking is defined as conduct directed at a specific person that would cause reasonable fear for their safety or would cause substantial emotional distress (Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women). This conduct can take place in person or online. Oftentimes, we think of a stalker as a stranger—however, it is much more likely to be someone that we know. It can be a partner, a family member, a friend, or all of the above. It is common for stalking behaviors to happen during and/or after a relationship.”

A lunch & learn gave staff the opportunity to learn about stalking and stalking prevention in the context of their own clients, and for the public, the FSS of MFSD Facebook page shared information weekly.

Upcoming is a community awareness event, “Talking About Stalking;” it’s free event for students, community members and professionals who seek to learn more about stalking facts and myths, along with civil and court options for survivors. Learn more about this event, hosted by the 18th Judicial Circuit Court, alongside partners including FSS of MFSD, DuPage County Family Violence Coordinating Council, the DuPage County Health Department, Benedictine University, the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Adult Protective Services, and Walter R Jackowiec III.