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National Stalking Month -- take this Crisis Center quiz

Most people are aware that stalking is now recognized as a crime in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and by the federal government.

But did you know that it has become so pervasive in today's society that it affects nearly 1.4 million Americans each year?

This month, the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center in Detroit Lakes is joining other victim advocacy organizations across the country in recognizing National Stalking Awareness Month.

First established four years ago, the observance was motivated by the death of Peggy Klinke, a stalking victim who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend after repeatedly seeking law enforcement intervention and protection.

"Stalking is often invisible to everyone except the victim," said Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. "Our hope is that National Stalking Awareness Month will serve to bring stalking to the attention of policy makers, law enforcement officials and the general public, so that when stalking victims need help, we will all respond appropriately -- doing everything we can to keep them safe and hold offenders accountable for their actions."

"Seeing how LCRC deals with this issue on a daily basis, it's really important for everyone to know that your friends, family, loved ones or neighbors may be victims of stalking," added Michael Ossler, a domestic violence legal advocate at LCRC. "It's the primary reason why we need to write harassment restraining orders, or HRO's."

In fact, nationwide, 28 percent of female victims and 10 percent of male victims have had to seek a protective order. Of those, 69 percent of female victims and 81 percent of male victims had the protection order violated.

"We really do deal with this every day," Ossler said. "I just received a call today from a 16-year-old female who was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend."

Nationwide, about 1 million women and 370,000 men are stalked each year, and approximately 77 percent of female victims and 64 percent of male victims know their stalker. Approximately 59 percent of female victims and 30 percent of male victims are stalked by an intimate partner.

To help educate the community it serves, Lakes Crisis and Resource Center has established a contest that will continue through January.

A list of 10 questions has been prepared by LCRC staff: members of the community will be able to submit their answers to those questions, by mail or e-mail, through the end of the month, with the winner to receive a prize of $50 in Chamber Bucks.

The questions are as follows (hint: some of the answers are contained in this article).

• True or false: The majority of stalking victims are celebrities.

• How many people are stalked in America every year?

• What percentage of women who are stalked by an intimate partner are sexually assaulted by that partner?

• True or false: The majority of women stalked by their current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner.

• What percentage of stalking victims are men?

• What percentage of stalkers are women?

• True or false: Most stalking victims who had obtained a protective order against their stalker have had the protective order violated by the stalker.

• How many states have stalking laws?

• What percentage of male stalking victims are stalked by other men?

• True or false: More than 80 percent of women who were stalked on campus knew their stalker.

Answers may be submitted by e-mail to michaelo@, or by mail to:


Lakes Crisis and Resource Center

P.O. Box 394

Detroit Lakes MN 56501

All answers must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31 to be eligible.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454