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Activist discusses danger of stalking

Debbie Riddle, an educator on stalking, spoke at Saint Mary’s Tuesday night to discuss the importance of speaking out regarding stalking. After Riddle’s sister was killed by her stalker in 2003, she dedicated herself to sharing that story and serving as a catalyst for change.

Iesha Miller, the Belles Against Violence (BAVO) coordinator, said that “letting people and students know the resources that are out there” is important.

Liz Baumann, director of the office for student involvement and advocacy (OSAI) said that learning about stalking can help others by identifying, and knowing when to get help.

“I think it’s important to not only learn the warning signs and learn how to help others and ourselves, but also to show those who have been affected are not alone,” Baumann said.

Riddle discussed her sister’s story throughout her talk, and recounted how reaching out to police didn’t lead to much progress.

Here at Saint Mary’s, programs like BAVO attempt to prevent situations like those.

“If you or someone you know are experiencing stalking, please reach out, there are people here that want to help you and are trained to help you,” Baumann said.

Miller said that she personally works to help student through their trauma.

“One thing I do to help students is process their experience and connect them to resources outside of myself,” Miller said.

Riddle sharing her family’s experience serves as a resource to the College community, Miller said.

“Having Debbie here to kind of tell her story about her sister stories is a way for us to let people know that this is a huge national issue,” she said.

Baumann described how BAVO helps students dealing with a stalking situation.

“BAVO is always going to take the students’ lead. So sometimes that is dealing with it more on a personal mental health level and getting support. Other times that is bringing in law enforcement or campus safety to help as well,” she said.

Baumann said that these resources have been helpful when utilized by Saint Mary’s students.

“There are a lot of individuals that are affected by stalking and other forms of interpersonal violence, including here at Saint Mary’s, unfortunately. I think it’s important to not only learn the warning signs but also show that those affected by stalking are not alone,” she said. 

Riddle’s talk made the point that stalking can happen to anyone.

“It does happen, and it will happen unfortunately for some students, but even if it is one student, that is still one student too many,” Miller explained.

Contact Krystyna Sowa at ksowa01@saintmarys.edu

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