WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — January marks the 18th annual National Stalking Awareness Month.

Officials with the Sexual Assault Help Center say this is a real problem that many don’t take seriously.

A statistic they shared is 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men will be stalked in their lifetime.

Executive Director Ashley Carpenter says stalking can look like unwanted phone calls, text messages and it can go as far as threats of their life.

She says some important things to do when you think you are being stalked is to first document and report the incident immediately.

And if needed to get a protection order.

She says is an extremely important step because once they violate it..they are violating a court order.

“So that is the power behind the protection orders. not the fact that it can’t stop a bullet but when they violate it, that victim has to feel confident enough in the system to be able to then go report the violation,” said Upper Ohio Valley SAHC Executive Director, Ashley Carpenter.

She says to also talk to law enforcement and to an advocate.

If you have any questions about stalking you can call 304-234-1783.