Oklahoma groups raise awareness about harassment and prevention services


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According to SPARC (Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center), more than 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men will experience harassment in their lifetime. Every January, national organizations like SPARc and local agencies like the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma organize awareness and prevention activities to highlight the prevalence and dangers of stalking.

“It may seem like there is nothing you can do,” said Stacey Rose, victim rights advocate at Family Shelter. Rose said that when a victim of stalking requests services, physical and emotional safety is paramount.

“Planning for physical safety involves things like providing shelter or a move to remove the victim from the situation, or when a victim is unwilling or unable to move, we provide safety tips like being aware of the environment. , change routines, document every incident and report it to authorities, ”said Rose. “Another possibility is to apply for a protection order.”

Rose said emotional safety planning includes helping victims develop a support system. “It is important for the victim to know who to contact if things seem overwhelming. Encouraging victims to seek necessary medical or mental health services, or assistance from other agencies, is also a consideration.

In addition to advocacy and support services, Family Shelter Victim Advocates are organizing an education group, which is currently held through Zoom. The 26-week program provides in-depth information and support on various aspects of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and related issues.

Other services provided through the shelter include those for friends and family members of victims, who may be experiencing secondary victim issues and related trauma. Rose said these supports can include planning for safety with people adjacent to the victim, as sometimes a stalker lashes out on a victim’s family and friends when they are unable to reach their victim or its target. In addition to safety planning for the physical and emotional safety of victims, this could include advice such as developing code words and scheduling frequent recordings.

January is Harassment Prevention and Awareness Month. “It is important to bring attention to and recognize the seriousness of criminal harassment,” said Rose. “A lot of people don’t realize that the majority of victims of stalking are harassed by someone they know, such as a current or former partner or acquaintance – and the majority of those murdered by an intimate partner have been harassed before their murder. Rose said something else that many don’t consider is that harassment doesn’t always mean literally following someone. These could be unwanted phone calls, texts, emails or social media interactions, unwanted visits or unwanted gifts.

For those who are or might be the victims of stalking, Rose says to “trust your gut feelings”. Seeking services, discussing potential issues with a lawyer, and giving yourself or a family member peace of mind could save a life.

If you or someone you know needs services, the Family Shelter operates a 24/7 crisis line. Call 580-226-6424.

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