Calling attention to a crime that affects one out of six American women, President Obama on Tuesday signed a proclamation observing January as “National Stalking Awareness Month.”
In a statement, the president urged Americans to “recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime and urge those affected not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help.”
2014 marks the 10th anniversary of National Stalking Awareness Month, bringing to the forefront a crime that affects more than 6.5 million adults each year, according to the Stalking Resource Center and the National Center for Victims of Crime.
“Many victims suffer from anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and some are forced to move or change jobs,” Mr. Obama said in his proclamation. “Stalking all too often goes unreported, yet it also tends to escalate over time, putting victims at risk of sexual assault, physical abuse or homicide.”
The president also cited the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which he signed into law last March, as a vital piece of legislation for the victims of stalking.
Mr. Obama issued the proclamation while on holiday vacation in Hawaii.
On Tuesday, he also issued proclamations recognizing January as “National Mentoring Month” and “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.”