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.

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Period Project provides students with free menstrual products

In the Saint Mary’s College public bathrooms there are baskets on the counter filled with period products. This is what is known as the Period Project around campus. 

Liz Baumann the Director of Student Involvement and Advocacy at Saint Mary’s College explained what the Period Project is exactly, “The Period Project has the mission of increasing access to period products while also decreasing the stigma and increasing education.”

The Period Project has a variety of goals, and many have already been accomplished. “Our initial goal has been to have free period products in at least one bathroom in every building on campus,” Baumann said. 

One of the boxes of free menstrual products supplied around Saint Mary’s campus.

However, the baskets on the counters are not the only way to access free period products. Baumann further explained, “In addition to that, we have full boxes of products in the Mother Pauline Pantry, so if students need more than just one product they can access that for free as well.” 

Increasing education about periods is another important goal for the Period Project. “On the other side of things, we have created programming to increase education and decrease the stigma,” Baumann said. 

The Student Body President Angela Martinez Camacho explains how the Student Government Association is involved with the Period Project, “Liz Baumann and Christin Kloski, both leaders of the Period Project, reached out to SGA and asked for partnership and sponsorship alongside hosting the period party.” 

In addition to hosting fun events like the period party, there will also be more education-focused events. “Throughout the year we’ll have additional events, bringing in experts in the field to talk about periods and menstrual cycles and related issues,” Baumann said. 

The Period Project has been helpful for many students across campus. Martinez Camacho expressed how she found the Period Project helpful, “Number one, I’ve heard quite a few stories of how students on campus were in moments of ‘oh my gosh I need a pad, tampon etcetera’ and the baskets from the Period Project have helped them in those moments.”

Baumann discussed why she thinks the Period Project is important for the Saint Mary’s community. “I think it’s important for everyone to have access to these products but especially in a space that is primarily women, primarily menstruators.”

One of the main things about the Period Project is how you can easily access these products. “Through administration and student government,  we can help to make someone else’s life a little bit easier. I think that’s the overall goal,” Martinez Camacho emphasized. 

However, the Period Project is still continuing to grow across campus. Bauman addresses different ways for the Period Project to keep growing, “Right now we are running only on donations. And we know that those can run out. So creating space in the Saint Mary’s budget to fund a project like the Period Project, I think is really important.”

The Saint Mary’s Period Project gets a variety of donations. “There are some alumnae that found out about the project and wanted to donate so that’s really exciting. All our funders are listed on the website; so I urge people to go there and see who they can thank,” Baumann said. 

Martinez Camacho conveys the message to always take period products if you ever need one. “We will always make sure that we give students, faculty, and staff accessibility to what we are promoting, and what we are giving to you all. So take it when you need it.” 

Baumann expressed her thoughts about periods, “I guess just the final thought is periods aren’t weird, periods aren’t gross, periods are normal and we should be able to talk about them openly. and that includes providing products openly.”

Krystyna Sowa

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