January was stalker awareness month at ISU
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 13:02
The main message of the presentation was to inform students that being the victim of stalking is not a joke and shouldn’t be taken lightly. ISU encourages students to report any stalking incidents. Though stalking may seem harmless, and stalkers may not come off as being dangerous, stalking could lead to domestic violence, rape or even murder.
Stalking is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as the act or instance of harassing another in an aggressive and often threatening and illegal manner. Stalking is a crime in every state. Yet, one in four women and one in 13 men report being a victim of stalking. As a whole, in one single year in the United States, almost seven million people are stalked.
According to stalkerawarenessmonth.org, stalkers have many different methods of victimizing. Some stalkers follow their victims, while others use technology and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to assist them in stalking. Technology allows a person to see every time a new status or tweet is made, thus allowing stalkers to know where a person is physically because of the “Check Me In” application or maps used on social networking. ISU advises students to make sure their social media accounts are set to private in order to reduce the amount of information available to friends and strangers.
Additionally, some stalkers use letters and gifts interact with their victims.
Stalkerawareness.org also described typical qualities in a stalker. Stalkers appear to have similar qualities as a rapist or a domestic abuser, and may seem mentally ill. However, they are not. In most cases, stalkers are just as sane as the person they are stalking. Instead of being driven by mental illnesses, stalkers are looking for control and power.
Further, signs such as excessive text messaging, phone calls, possessiveness and trying to take control signify a potential stalker. Frequently, stalkers are the victim’s former or current intimate partner. According to stalkerawareness.org, 66 percent of female victims and 41 percent of male victims are stalked by a current or former significant other.
In the videos shown by ISU’s Student Health Promotion, two situations were highlighted: females being stalked by someone whom they have had personal relations with and a female who was being stalked by her parents while at college.
The two females were being followed, called and assaulted by a former lover. The college female was being controlled by her parents. As a junior in college, the victim’s personal life was being severely intruded. From monitoring her finances to forcing her to keep a Skype video going throughout the night, the victim’s parents inflicted emotional damage and were sued for stalking.
If signs begin to arise that someone is being stalked, ISU advises students to avoid interaction with the person, including text messages or phone calls. If confronted in person, students are advised to call the police. Victims should also keep a log of the different incidents by recording calls and messages in order to create a solid defense if legal action is necessary.
If you are a student and you are being stalked on campus, you should report it to campus security. ISU advises even the smallest signs of stalking to be reported. By blowing it off or thinking it is harmless and not reporting it, the stalker is assured that their actions are justified or acceptable.