Texas First Lady Anita Perry spoke at a press conference today at the State Capitol to raise awareness about the dangerous implications of stalking. She also announced that Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed January as Stalking Awareness Month.

“Stalking isn’t just frightening, it can be deadly. And more importantly, it’s a crime,” Perry said. “By raising awareness about the prevalence of stalking we can encourage victims to tell someone and also share the message of hope and recovery.”

In the last two years, one in five Texans was a victim of stalking, according to a survey by the Crime Victims’ Institute of Sam Houston State University.

More than 30 percent of women stalked by a current or former partner are also sexually assaulted by that partner. And three out of four women who were murdered by a partner had been previously stalked by the killer. Unfortunately, fewer than half of these incidents are ever reported.

The First Lady praised partners of the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Collaborative (IVPC), law enforcement officers and countless others across the state that selflessly devote their time to educate Texans about how to prevent and respond to this heinous crime.

“Victims of stalking are not alone. Through the network of victim advocates across Texas, they not only have a safe haven, but a voice,” Perry said.