Stalking in Indian Country

January is National Stalking Month. In all 50 States stalking is a criminal act. The statistic that sticks out in my mind is that 3/4 femicide (women murdered) were stalked 12 months prior to the murder. Combinations of physical abuse plus stalking equal a higher indicator of lethality than either behavior alone.

There is no definite profile of stalkers. When stalkers were studied they referred to women as prey more than human beings.

Technology and stalking using an e-card on the internet is horrific in an obvious technique to induce fear in the receiver of the card. The sender need only add what color the person’s hair is or what color is that person’s eyes and it implies that the sender is watching the receiver. This was a chilling display of the light hearted attitude America views such serious and often times deadly result of stalking. It is a display in a new method of stalking and that is technology, phones, cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), computers (internet), spy-ware, assistive technologies and social networking sites. The anonymity of simply clicking, testing and pushing send to terrorize is becoming more and more prevalent and the impact of this new age stalking can be just as deadly to victims.

Because stalking and the combination of domestic violence have such high statistics that end in murder or femicide tribes need to revisit their domestic abuse codes and in the process consider technological stalking in the amendments. Developing and implementing domestic violence codes as well as anti-stalking codes prevent violence and promote peace. A stalking code can be passed in the harassment ordinance as in the Quileute tribal code.

The Violence Against Woman Act II (VOWA II), signed into law effective November 1, 2000, clarifies some of the confusion that has resulted from public policy, particularly around the authority of tribal courts to enforce civil protection orders against non-Indians. However, a number of barriers still prevent Native stalking victims in Indian country from seeking the safety and justice they deserve. Indian Nation governments that design, develop, and implement their own culturally-specific legal code to address domestic violence and stalking crimes will further their sovereignty by protecting their citizens, empowering victims of stalking, and holding perpetrators of these crimes accountable.

For more resources on stalking:

Stalking resource center

Practitioners: 202-467-8700

Victims: 1-800-FYI-CALL


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