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Crime/Courts

January 31, 2013

Stalking Awareness Month ending

NORMAN — As January comes to a close, so does National Stalking Awareness Month.

Earlier this month, President Obama declared January as National Stalking Awareness Month.

“I call upon all Americans to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as serious crime and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans,” Obama said.

Stalking affects 3.4 million victims a year. According to legal definitions, stalking is defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”

In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for homicide of women in abusive relationships. Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population. Many also lose time from work or have to move.

Stalking may take many forms such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary or animal abuse as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts or visits.

One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology to track the victim’s daily activities.

For more information about National Stalking Awareness Month, visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org. For a stalking fact sheet, visit www.victimsofcrime.

org/docs/src/stalking-fact-sheet_english.pdf?sfyrsn=4.

Police offers self-defense class: The Norman Police Department will present a free class of the program“My Body ... My Life ... Empowering women through awareness, education, violence prevention and self-defense techniques.”

The class will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 23 at Norman Regional Hospital Education Facility, 901 N. Porter Ave.

The class is available to the first 25 women, age 18 years or older, on a first come, first serve basis. If demand exceeds availability, the police department will attempt to offer more classes as resources allow.

To register, contact Jennifer Newell by calling 366-5267 or by emailing Jennifer.Newell@NormanOK.

gov.

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