The Voice for South Asians affected by Family Violence | January 2022
Awaaz News & Updates
Introducing Awaaz's 2022 Board
Awaaz's Board helps ensure that Awaaz is fulfilling it's mission to educate, advocate for, and empower San Antonio's South Asian community. Together, they work to help South Asian families break free from the cycle of family violence. We are pleased to introduce Awaaz's Board for 2021:
President: Madhu Mehta Treasurer: Bharti Patel Secretary and Grant Coordinator: Jyotsna Sharma Outreach Services: Tapasi Misra Client Services: Uma Kasinath Social Media Services: Shalini Venkat Executive Director: Toral Patel
Sunny Reddy has stepped back from her role as volunteer coordinator after nearly four years of service. Thank you, Sunny, for all that you've done to support Awaaz! Awaaz Seeks New Volunteers
As Awaaz continues to grow, new volunteers are needed to support the organization's operations and infrastructure. If you or someone you know would like to help Awaaz manage its social media, complete administrative tasks, and/or assist with community outreach, please reach out to the Awaaz team. Inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month
January is National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM). Stalking is referred to as a pattern of actions and behaviors intended to intimidate, frighten, or terrify an individual. These actions can be done in person or virtually. Cyberstalking is when stalking techniques are used online (i.e., via email or social media), and may include intimidation and bullying.
Stalking can affect people from all ages and all backgrounds. Eighty percent of women in DV relationships have identified being victims of stalking by their partners. Moreover, stalking and cyberstalking has steadily grown in the younger generation from cases in high school through colleges/universities. Most stalkers are known by the stalked individual, often an ex-romantic partner, or someone wishing to be a partner.
Here are some examples of the unwanted, unsolicited acts by stalkers. Stalkers may:
Show up at a person’s home/place of employment/social outing
Send unwanted items to place of work or home, causing discomfort
Spam a person with calls, text, hang-ups, emails, or comments on social media
Track a person's GPS or social media to get location
Damage one's personal property or belongings
Damage one's reputation with rumors
Share digitized or compromised images on social media without a person's knowledge or consent
Initiate bullying or promote others to join in on verbal or online harassment
Hack into personal accounts (e.g., banking, email, social media, etc.)
Victims of stalking should set firm boundaries and communicate that they are uncomfortable with these actions. They should also seek help sooner than later. It’s imperative to document, take videos (if safety is not compromised), or grab screen shots of all unwanted actions from the stalker. Documenting stalking can aid in acquiring restraining orders, or to press charges, if needed.
Understanding what is considered stalking under Texas law can be helpful for victims seeking support from law enforcement. How is stalking proven in Texas?
Intent of stalker: Stalker has the intent or knowledge that their actions will instill fear of death or bodily injury to the victim or members of the victim's family/household. Threats can be explicit or implied. Threats cannot be general and must be aimed at a specific person. Threats may be conveyed by the stalker or another person on behalf of the stalker.
Conduct of stalker: Conduct has to occur on more than one occasion and must be directed towards the victim or members of the victim's family/household. Acts of conduct mat include threatening contact via mail or phone or damaging personal property. Multiple police reports are not needed to prove conduct.
The penalty for stalking is a Class A misdemeanor ($4,000 fine and/or no more than one year in jail). If there is a prior conviction for stalking, the penalty is upgraded to a third-degree felony (2-10 years in jail and possibly a fine of up to $10,000). The releasing officer is required to make a reasonable attempt at contacting the victim once the stalker is released or escapes from prison, though the victim is responsible for notifying law enforcement about any phone or address changes to ensure that this occurs.