Today: Jun 16, 2024

Stalking linked to social media

ANNE MARIE LAGNESESpecial to Southern News
Imagine this scenario: A group of students meet at a friend’s house looking at every inch of someone’s Facebook page, scrutinizing every detail while sending unwanted messages. It’s not the first time this week. In fact, they have read through this person’s profile and have contacted them on multiple occasions this month.
Many adults, college students and even teenagers, do not realize that the Internet and use of websites, such as Facebook can be used as tool for stalking.
The Women’s Center at Southern has resources and connections available for students, faculty and staff to help if they think they have fallen victim to stalking and are in need of support.
“A lot of people have Facebook, Myspace and Foursquare pages, but they don’t even know that it could be used in a form of stalking,” said Maayra Nieves, a student worker for the Woman’s Center.
Stalking doesn’t have to be confined to simply following the person and taking pictures of them. In fact, according to the National Victims of Crime’s website, it recognizes that technology is used as a tool to stalk a person.
“One in four victims report being stalked through the use of some form of technology [email or instant messaging]” according to the National Victims of Crime’s website.
A good amount of students on Southern’s campus file through the Woman’s Center doors in a given month for various support with various topics, according to Nieves.
“You’ll be surprised, since it is such a big campus. About four or five students come to the Woman’s Center per month,” said Nieves
At an information table set up in the Adanti Student Center on Feb. 1, pamphlets, signs and posters lined the table for those who are interested in the Women’s Center and its events this semester.
Nieves, one of those working at this table, said there are upcoming events to make students aware of subjects such as stalking, eating disorders and sexual assaults.
She said most of the students that come through the Women’s Center’s doors for help are usually handled solely by the supervisor of the center. The staff of the Women’s Center does keep information confidential if a student requests it, such as in a case of a sexual assault. Nieves said the staff cannot violate someone’s word if they expressed certain feelings.
“If a woman comes in for a sexual assault, we contact our supervisor,” said Nieves. “If the student doesn’t want us to contact, our supervisor handles it on her own.”
The Women’s Center website giving suggestions and steps for friends, family members, and those surrounding people who have fallen victim to stalking, as well as other crimes.
“Tell someone. It is important that family and friends are aware of the stalker’s behavior for your safety and theirs,” according to Southern’s website.
Stalking, sexual assault, as well as other crimes and conditions, can safely be reported. The Women’s Center also has recourses to help a student who reaches out.

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