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House Raises Awareness of Stalking, Teen Dating Violence

National Stalking Awareness Month

On February 3, the House passed, 417-0, H. Res. 82, a resolution raising awareness and encouraging prevention of stalking by establishing January 2009 as National Stalking Awareness Month.

Speaking in support of his resolution, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) said, “I hope this resolution serves as a unifying force for the community leaders, policymakers, and victim service providers…A January 2009 report from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics found that during a one-year period, an estimated 3.4 million people in America reported being stalked. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, this is an increase of 2 million victims per year in the last decade. These statistics are a jarring reminder of the scope and seriousness of this crime…By establishing January 2009 as National Stalking Awareness Month, Congress can help to educate Americans about the severity of stalking and encourage victims to report these crimes to the police.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) also spoke, stating, “Every year, stalking affects millions of Americans of both genders and of all races and ages. The consequences of stalking can be extremely serious. The fear and mental anguish can leave stalking victims paralyzed. Stalkers cause their victims severe emotional distress, including anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction and depression, which can affect all aspects of life, including family, social activities and work…I’d like to commend my Judiciary Committee colleague, the gentleman from Texas [Rep. Poe], for his leadership on this issue.”

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week

The same day, the House passed, 419-0, H. Res. 103, a resolution supporting National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. The resolution is sponsored by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

Speaking on the House floor, Rep. Lewis stated, “In 2005 many of my colleagues and I mourned the loss of April Love. She was an outstanding Congressional Black Caucus Foundation summer intern from Arkansas who was killed by her boyfriend. April was really a shining star, a southern belle, with a heart of gold and a brain to match…We must bring attention to this unbelievable series of incidents that are spreading around our country. Fear, stalking, violence, and abuse are unacceptable and always shocking…we must break this chain and educate young people about the importance of developing healthy relationships. During this week, I urge all of my colleagues to educate themselves and all of their citizens about this important issue.”

Rep. Poe added, “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week provides an opportunity for parents to engage their children about dating violence and abusive relationships. The Teen Research Unlimited poll indicates that parents often do not know that their children are in relationships, let alone abusive relationships. More than three times as many “tweens” (20 percent) as parents (six percent) admit that parents know little or nothing about the dating relationships of those “tweens.” I encourage parents to use this week to talk with their children about dating and violence.”

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