LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to be victims of stalking

Local advocates are raising awareness of stalking victimization in the LGBTQ+ community.
Local advocates are raising awareness of stalking victimization in the LGBTQ+ community.(WEAU)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:56 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - January is Stalking Awareness month and advocates in the Chippewa Valley are working to bring awareness to stalking victimization in the LGBTQ+ community.

According to Cara, a domestic violence advocate at Family Support Center in Chippewa Falls, stalking affects the LGBTQ+ community at a higher rate.

“One out of three bisexual women are stalked as opposed to one out of six women as a whole and one out of, I believe, it’s seven trans students are stalked as opposed to one out of seventeen college students,” Cara said.

Cara said the majority of LGBTQ+ victims are stalked by someone they know.

“Stalking does and can happen within or after a domestic relationship, but that stalking is also often committed by roommates, acquaintances, coworkers,” Cara said.

Katelyn Wonderlin, an LGBTQ+ advocate at Bolton Refuge House in Eau Claire, said there are many reasons why LGBTQ+ individuals are stalked more often, but it’s mostly due to feelings of homophobia, transphobia, and prejudice.

“There’s a lot of stress and stigma against members of the LGBTQ plus population. And so because of that, there can be a lot more stress in getting services, especially getting support after a form of violence or while in the throes of experiencing a form of violence like stalking,” Wonderlin said.

Stalking can be physically following someone or showing up at their home, or sending lots of unwanted phone calls or messages.

“It can be a harassment element of repeated contact without the other person wanting that contact. Obviously, the other mission, it really is a big thing that causes fear with the victim or with the person who is being stalked. It’s a big fear of the unknown, fear of what the person’s going to do and fear that it’s not going to stop,” Wonderlin said.

Providing safe spaces is key to preventing crimes against LGBTQ+ people.

“Believing survivors is important. Having having signs that all are welcome here. Right. This is a safe space. You know, recognizing that, yes, we do serve LGBTQ folks is incredibly important,” Cara said.

Advocates of the Chippewa Valley said that everyone deserves to feel safe, no matter their identity.

The Family Support Center and Bolton Refugee House offer help and safety planning to any victims of stalking.

Here’s a list of other resources available to the LGBTQ+ community: