Awareness Months

January is Stalking Awareness Month (SAM)

What is SAM?

Stalking Awareness Month (SAM) is a national observance in January that aims to raise awareness and coordinate efforts to fight stalking.

At UNC, stalking is defined as a "course of conduct . . . directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person . . . to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress."

Stalking can take many forms. It is not always based on a current, previous, or desired romantic relationship. Stalking can happen between people who know each other or who are strangers. It can happen through direct or indirect contact or through other people by any action, method, device, or means to follow, monitor, observe, surveil, threaten, or communicate to or about another person.  People often associate stalking with following, lurking, and spying. These are forms of stalking, but stalking can also be carried out through technology, including social media.

Stalking behaviors can include:

  • Sending repeated, unwanted calls, texts, emails, letters, and/or social media messages
  • Creating fake social media accounts or profiles to communicate, monitor, and/or impersonate
  • Using multiple social media platforms to engage in unwanted contact, monitoring, information gathering, and/or communication
  • Repeatedly showing up at someone’s home, workplace, class, or social gathering space
  • Leaving unwanted gifts or letters
  • Damaging property
  • Monitoring or tracking of someone’s location
  • Using information obtained at work to engage in unwanted personal communication, tracking, monitoring, and/or contact

Healthy relationships require all parties to recognize and respect boundaries. This includes recognizing when communication is unwanted or not reciprocated. For example, blocking someone on one social media platform is not an invitation to access that person on a different platform. If you are unsure whether your communication is welcomed, you should ask. Be sure to respect the response, especially if it is not the answer you hoped to receive.

There are various University resources available to individuals experiencing stalking. These resources may also be helpful if someone is concerned about their own behavior and/or the behavior of friends or peers. For more information and resources for those who are experiencing stalking or other prohibited conduct, visit

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

What is SAAM?

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is a national observance in April that aims to raise awareness and coordinate efforts to fight sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence.

The EOC’s policies define sexual assault as having or trying to have sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Other forms of sexual violence can include:

  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Child sexual assault and incest
  • Sexual assault by a person’s spouse or partner
  • Unwanted sexual contact/touching
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • Exposing one’s genitals or naked body to other(s) without consent
  • Masturbating in public
  • Watching someone engage in private acts without their knowledge or permission
  • Nonconsensual image sharing

There is a social context that surrounds sexual violence. Social norms that condone violence, use power over others, traditional constructs of masculinity, the subjugation of women, and silence about violence and abuse contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence. Oppression in all of its forms is among the root causes of sexual violence. Sexual violence is preventable through collaborations of community members at multiple levels of society—in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith settings, workplaces, and other settings. We all play a role in preventing sexual violence and establishing norms of respect, safety, equality, and helping others. To learn more about sexual violence and how to prevent it, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

October is Relationship Violence Awareness Month

What is RVAM?

Relationship Violence Awareness Month (RVAM), also known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is a national observance in October that aims to raise awareness and coordinate efforts to fight relationship violence.

At UNC, interpersonal violence (including intimate partner violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence) is defined as a broad range of abusive behavior committed by a person who is or has been:

  • In a romantic or intimate relationship with the Reporting Party (of the same or different sex);
  • The *Reporting Party’s spouse or partner (of the same or different sex);
  • The Reporting Party’s family member; or
  • The Reporting Party’s cohabitant or household member, including a roommate.

Interpersonal violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions, attempted actions, or threats of actions that would cause a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or to experience substantial emotional distress. Such behaviors may include, but are not limited to, physical violence and threats of violence to one’s self, one’s family member, or one’s pet. Learn more about Interpersonal Violence and other forms of prohibited conduct by visiting the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct.

*Reporting Party: Any individual who reports experiencing unwanted or discriminatory behavior (including interpersonal or relationship violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking) prohibited by UNC Chapel Hill’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct or Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment under Title IX.

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