The Stalking Prevention Awareness and prevention Resource Center (SPARC) reports an estimated 6-7.5 million Americans experience some type of stalking across the country every year.
The SPARC defines stalking as,
approaching the victim or showing up in places when the victim didn’t want them to be there; making unwanted telephone calls; leaving the victim unwanted messages (text or voice); watching or following the victim from a distance, or spying on the victim with a listening device, camera, or GPS.
Here at home, A&M Central TX is working to educate their students and staff so they know what to look out for in these situations. One new student says her experience with stalking was one she will never forget.
“It’s terrifying. You’re a victim and you can’t get away. Nothing you do, you can’t get away from it," Jamie Kennedy said.
Kennedy said a previous neighbor constantly stalked her family to the point where she had to move, and then still was followed and harassed.
Although she has an extensive security system and two guard dogs, there is still some fear that lingers today.
“Do you trust someone isn’t behind me, are you on high alert. You know and you shouldn’t have to feel that way ever.”
"It's not a onetime event you can experience the aftershocks of feeling of being stalked of having that violence against you," Paul York Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at A&M Central TX said.
York has worked with many students on campus who have reported complaints to his office. He said sometimes people don’t realize the severity and impact stalking can have on a person.
“You can mean it is kind of like a joke, but it’s not at all. Like I said, it’s meant to really make somebody feel unsafe and make them feel threatened and make them feel isolated and get them away from people,” said York.
Through pamphlets and webinars, York said they will continue to work to educate students and staff on all types of stalking, and provide extended support for victims.
“From the time that we are the referral is share with us or the information to share with us all the way up through that person graduating and even potentially coming back it never stops. It’s a continual amount of support that we offer,” said York.
Even though her incident happened before her time at the university, as a new warrior on campus, it brings Kennedy comfort knowing that the university takes stalking complaints seriously.
“Having advocacy out there, it’s hard when no one else is listening. to know that you do have a place where someone is listening,” said Kennedy.
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states. Aggravating factors can include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation/parole, victim under 16 years, or same victim as prior occasions.
If you are a student at A&M Central TX and would like to file a complaint, you can call (254) 519-5763 or email email@example.com.
For more information about what to do if you are being stalked click here.