Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and Safe Horizon have launched an anti-stalking campaign, which aims to use relevant social media content to enhance stalking victim safety and awareness of available resources for domestic violence victims.
The social media campaign, supported by federal funds under the Grants to Encourage Arrest and Enforcement of Protection Orders, seeks to educate the public on the early warning signs of stalking and where to get help. The campaign will take an innovative approach towards disseminating the information through the use of social media platforms.
"Stalking and cyber-stalking are very serious issues, and this campaign is designed to use popular internet culture to find those who need help distancing themselves from a stalker and potential abuser and to connect them to resources on domestic violence, stalking and related issues. I am proud to partner with Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark's office and Safe Horizon on this innovative initiative to fight abusive behavior," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “Last year, we prosecuted 278 cases with stalking-related charges. This crime makes people feel defenseless, and cyber-stalking magnifies victims’ fear and vulnerability. This is why we have extended our outreach through social media with this essential campaign that primarily targets the younger people in our borough. I’m thankful to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and to Safe Horizon for collaborating in our efforts to educate the public and eradicate this hi-tech form of domestic abuse.”
Ariel Zwang, Safe Horizon CEO said, “Stalking is a crime that can get more serious over time, and may leave a victim feeling paralyzed or afraid to perform their normal, everyday routine. With the rise of social media and GPS apps, abusers have learned to utilize these platforms to further intimidate their victim in the form of cyber-stalking. But social media can also be a powerful tool to connect victims to services. That's why we are proud to partner with the New York City Police Department, New York City Department of Probation and the offices of the Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark's and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on this anti-stalking social media campaign to connect victims to resources and services that can keep them safe online and in real life.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, stalking is a public health concern known to affect millions of people in the United States. Stalking not only creates immediate emotional and physical damage, and impairs mental health; it also results in long-term outcomes such as mental disability, social isolation, and sometimes death. Stalking has become a national epidemic. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence(NCADV) found that 81 percent of women who were stalked by a current or former husband or cohabitating partner were also physically assaulted by that partner, and that 31 percent of women were also sexually assaulted.
Additionally, an estimated 6.5 million men have experienced stalking victimization during their lifetimes. Nationally, 7.5 million people file stalking police reports every year (NADW). Furthermore, approximately one in four stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail (83 percent) or instant messaging (35 percent) (BJS). These statistics demonstrate the demand for enhanced public safety and policy reformation that address stalking.
This online campaign provides an opportunity to go beyond the confines of printed material and leverage social media. The campaign allows service providers to target specific groups while also reducing exposure to harm, as an abuser may become violent if they notice printed material about domestic violence in a victim’s possession. In addition, a data-driven, more personalized approach to communications can help work through stigma to better reach and serve populations at-risk.