Identifying red flags and bringing awareness to stalking

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kevyn Allen
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

National Stalking Awareness Month is recognized every January in order to bring attention to the dangers and warning signs of stalking. Latoya Heard, Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Violence Prevention Integrator is hosting online virtual stalking awareness training through the month of January to allow members to identify the red flags of stalking.

Heard is hosting this training virtually in order to take attendees away from a group or office environment, which allows them to be more comfortable with sharing their stories and ask questions about stalking, without fear of others learning about their personal details.

Heard said, “We will not look at pathology or try to understand why stalkers stalk, what I hope to provide is the education of what stalking is as well as relationship red flags.”

There are a number of red flags that lead to intimate partner violence, and those same red flags have been seen in stalking behavior. Heard will also be discussing some real-life stories to help members better understand why it is so important to seek help early.

“A few red flags to note are feeling afraid in a relationship, having to constantly check in with your partner, as well as your partner guilt tripping you for not spending enough time with them. Stalking victims may feel unsafe like they have to look over their shoulders and remain hypervigilant” said Heard.

Stalking can have long-term effects on victims which is why it’s important to come forward or seek. There are resources available for anyone who has fallen a victim of stalking. Dial 911 for immediate help, which will allow them to get in touch with Security Forces right away. Service members may also notify their chain of command if you feel that you are being threatened or stalked.

Stalking is a real issue and concern. A lot of times, because the behavior has been dismissed or normalized, people don't recognize the red flags early enough.

“Once red flags at any stage are identified, it is important to seek help right away. Acknowledge that your fears are valid. If a person feels afraid, they are afraid for a reason. Don’t dismiss them, but get the help that you deserve” said Heard.