Students learned where to go if being stalked on campus
January is stalking awareness month where over the course of the first 31 days of the year, word spreads all over the nation on how to both identify and stop stalking within communities.
In light of this, the North Dakota State University Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy Office held what is called a “Woke Shop” on Jan. 23, which covered stalking on college campuses.
Kristen Thomason of the local Fargo-Moorhead Rape and Abuse Crisis Center was the event’s guest speaker. Thomason has spent a long time working with individuals who are victims and know victims of such acts.
Thomason defined stalking as “…any significant interaction that a person is having with you that is causing you to feel fear, that is causing you to feel harassment, that is causing you to feel generally a sense of unsafety.”
On the subject of how people resort to stalking, Thomason stated, “…let’s say there’s a person that you dated on campus for example. If we have warning signs in our relationship that might point to that relationship being abusive, one of the things that we’re typically gonna be seeing is things like partners trying to have a sense of power or control over you.”
Thomason went on to describe the different methods an abusive partner would use to gain said control including isolating you from both friends and family while attempting to convince you that they are bad people.
“They do a good job enforcing the idea that a certain person doesn’t care about you,” Thomason said. There are even instances where perpetrators are violent enough to where they will try and scare those people away, usually by saying slanderous things about you.
Thomason continued by saying, “If you are isolated by them or you have left an abusive relationship with them and you feel like you don’t have anybody to go to, it’s gonna become increasingly more and more difficult to feel like you have anybody who’s really gonna listen to you in that situation. And that’s where agencies kinda like ours come in.”
“The more people you have watching your back that understand where you’re coming from when you’re talking about this stuff, the more defense we have against crimes like stalking.”Kristen Thomason, from the Fargo-Moorhead Rape and Abuse Crisis Center
Thomason then cited NDSU’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy Office as an example, “…those are people that will get you a place to start…if you don’t feel like you have anybody you can reach out to now, let’s try to figure out something within us, let’s try to figure out something within campus, let’s try and figure out some groups you can go and meet with, things that make you feel like you have more and more of a connection.”
“The more people you have watching your back that understand where you’re coming from when you’re talking about this stuff, the more defense we have against crimes like stalking,” Thomason added.
If you or anybody you know is or may be a victim of stalking, NDSU has a plethora of resources to help with your situation. Always feel free to contact the Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy office at 701-231-5733.