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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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National Stalking Awareness Month pushes for awareness and brings helpful resources to A&M’s student body

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Graphic by Nic Tan

The Texas A&M Health Promotion office teaches students about warning signs to watch for when it comes to stalking.

Each January for the last 15 years, National Stalking Awareness Month has taught people about the prevalence and warning signs of stalking.
At Texas A&M, the Health Promotion office educates students about stalking awareness through events and workshops that define stalking and offer warning signs to watch out for. Additionally, the office holds stalking awareness programs in concurrence with events held during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month and April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month to discuss how different types of power-based personal violence are connected. Health Promotion also uses their social media presence to promote these events.
Interpersonal violence prevention specialist Taylor Tyson said being aware of stalking is prevalent because people are often not very educated about the crime.
“One of the large problems with stalking is that most people don’t recognize the behaviors or patterns,” Tyson said. “Stalking is extremely underreported because of this. The goal with the social media campaign is to create some general knowledge about how many people are actually impacted and what stalking may look like.”
According to Tyson, stalking’s official definition is “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” Courses of conduct may include unwanted text messages or showing up to places unexpectedly. 
Coordinator for interpersonal violence prevention Denise Crisafi said stalking often goes unreported because people are not equipped to recognize signs that point to the severity of the situation.
“Although our campus and community are safe places to learn and live, stalking happens more often than many are willing to acknowledge or realize,” Crisafi said. “Part of this perception comes from the fact that stalking can be difficult to identify from ‘everyday behaviors’ or seem ‘harmless’ at first, and as a result, many of these crimes often go unreported until they escalate. It is important for students to be informed about their rights and resources in the instance that they or someone whom they know is experiencing stalking.”
The Office of Health Promotion is partnering with MSC Aggie Cinema on Wednesday to increase awareness on campus by hosting a screening of Safe Haven — a film about stalking based on the book by Nicholas Sparks of the same name. After the movie, attendees will have the opportunity to speak to a panel of experts from Phoebe’s Home, the Sexual Assault Resource Center, the University Police Department and the Offices of the Dean of Student Life, marking the beginning of a new program called Reel Relationships during Stalking Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“We have heard from many of our students that they would like to attend more events where they are able to have an open and honest conversation about power-based personal violence, their rights and responsibilities as students, what the university is doing to protect them, and how they can support others,” Crisafi said. “Our event on Jan. 30 provides an educational opportunity while meeting this expressed need, and we encourage our students to attend, learn more, and network with these experts, our staff and some of their fellow Aggies.”

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