Towards Thriving Cover

January 13, 2022

January is National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM)! Stalking often predicts and/or co-occurs with domestic and sexual violence. Millions of women and men are stalked every year in the United States and more than half of these individuals are stalked by current or former intimate partners. Nearly 1 in 3 women who were stalked by an intimate partner were also sexually assaulted by that partner.

Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear or emotional distress. Many abusers stalk their partners both during the relationship and after the relationship has ended as an extension of coercive control. Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right as well as a predictor of lethality. On average, intimate partner stalkers are the most threatening and dangerous type of stalker, and stalking increases the risk of intimate partner homicide by three times.

Since there are no standalone stalking services available in Idaho or in the United States, individuals impacted by stalking are often turning to the domestic and sexual violence programs in their area, regardless of whether they are being stalked by an intimate partner.

Victim advocates play a vital role in the response to stalking. Advocates can:

  • Recognize that stalking is a pattern of conduct, and a stalking victim’s level of fear and need may vary and change based on the stalker’s behaviors. Individuals who experience stalking can benefit from individual advocacy and mental health support.
  • Realize that stalking victims may maintain contact with their stalkers to keep themselves (or loved ones) safe. Work with victims to establish safety plans. The following guides are helpful to utilize when safety planning with individuals who experience stalking: English Safety Strategies Guide or Spanish Safety Strategies Guide. It may also be helpful to encourage individuals to utilize the English Incident and Behavior Log or Spanish Incident and Behavior Log to document incidents of stalking.
  • Analyze your agency response to stalking. This Checklist for Domestic and Sexual Violence Programs will help analyze your agency’s response to stalking, including assessing your agency’s mission, scope, and capacity to serve all individuals impacted by stalking.
  • Promote awareness about stalking in January and throughout the year. The Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center has a toolkit for NSAM, including: social media posts, letters to the editor, newsletter announcements, ready to lead trainings, brochures and posters about stalking and more! You can check it all out on their NSAM 2022 webpage.

We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors. Learn more at www.stalkingawareness.org/victim-service-provider-resources/!

Article written by Jennifer Landhuis, Director of The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, & Resource Center

Meet the SUN (See Us Now)! Collaborative

In October of 2021, we formally launched the See Us Now! Collaborative to deepen our collective efforts at the intersection of intellectual and developmental disabilities, and gender violence. Our collaboration will be working together over the next two years to center the voices of the disability community in co-creating healing pathways and solutions to all forms of abuse and violence. Funded through the Office on Violence Against Women, SUN! consists of six representatives:

Will Wallace and Jen Magelky-Seiler, Self-Advocates
Dana Gover, ADA Center Northwest – Idaho
Christine Pisani, Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities
Lacey Sinn and Bryan Lyda, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

We are currently engaged in deepening relationships and building the capacity of our collaborative to work towards our collective vision.

In 2022, we will seek to engage sexual and domestic violence programs and service providers in better meeting the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities impacted by violence. As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to introduce two of our incredible members, Jen and Christine, and the valuable contributions they each bring to our work.

Why do you participate in the SUN! Collaborative?

Jen: I am interested in working with others to reduce violence, abuse, and neglect experienced by people with disabilities in Idaho. People with disabilities are not seen or supported as they should be in our state, and it’s time for that to change.

Christine: For far too long the abuse of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities has been a back burner issue in Idaho. The national rate rape and sexual assault of people with intellectual disabilities is more than seven times the rate against people without disabilities. Among women with intellectual disabilities, it is about 12 times the rate. Idaho has not prioritized sexuality and healthy relationships education to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Idaho has not placed an emphasis on promoting needed advocacy skills for individuals in an effort to prevent abuse. Our systems are fragmented at best and provide little to no accountability to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is time for this to change and for people with intellectual and disabilities to lead the way in making our state a safe place for all Idahoans.

What do you hope to achieve with SUN!

Jen: I hope to develop creative solutions to barriers for people with disabilities when looking for support and healing.

Christine: Identifying and supporting far more leaders with disabilities with varied lived experience to help lead this change.

What are some of the most significant barriers for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have experienced abuse?

Jen: In my experience, there is a lack of knowledge of what a healthy relationship is. And not knowing where to go to help or feeling like they won’t be believed are significant barriers to people with disabilities reporting abuse and getting support.

Christine: Lack of education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, lack of training for families and service providers, lack of accountability, and ableism.

We are so grateful to Jen, Christine, and all of SUN! for their commitment to community and healing, and look forward to engaging with all of Idaho.

For more information on the See Us Now! Collaborative, please contact lacey@engagingvoices.org or bryan@engagingvoices.org

Training & Events

Context is Key: Recognizing & Responding to Stalking (Recorded 8/5/21)

Stalking is criminal, traumatic, dangerous and often misunderstood. This webinar provides an introduction to the crime of stalking, focusing on the definition, prevalence, dynamics, behaviors and intersections with other crimes (including intimate partner violence). This recurring one-hour webinar is offered quarterly to provide foundational knowledge on the crime of stalking.

View recorded webinar here.

You can check out more archived trainings here.

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Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Amy York.

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