The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Stalking on campuses gets overlooked by students

Practice is more prevalent, counselor says

Anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of all college women and 4 to 18percent of all college men will be the victims of a stalker duringthe time they are at school.

Dr. Emily Spence Diehl, a rape and domestic violence counselor,discussed the growing concern of stalking on college campuses atthe Women’s Center on Monday.

“Stalking is more prevalent on college campuses than inany other setting,” said Diehl to students and facultymembers in attendance.

Diehl described stalking as “any unwanted contact inperson or otherwise that may instill fear or otherwise threatenssomeone’s mental or physical health.”

“This may include telephone calls, showing up outsideone’s work or class, e-mails or snail mail letters,”she said.

Predictable schedules and community housing are two of the manyreasons that stalking is more common in college than in othersurroundings.

Most people do not report incidents of stalking until they haveescalated to an extreme point.

“This is due to the fact that many people do not think ofa phone call or visit as stalking,” Diehl said.

The average age of most victims is 18-29 years old and theaverage victim is stalked for about two years.

The length of time during which victims are stalked leads tomany problems, including stress disorders, nightmares, and chronichypertension among other things.

“It is not uncommon for most stalking victims toexperience some sort of medical problem throughout or after thetime they are stalked due to the high-stress situation they are putinto,” Diehl said.

The best way to avoid stalking is to prevent it before itbegins.

A stalker possesses several characteristics that could be apossible warning sign to future problems. For instance, potentialstalkers “have an inability to cope with shame and rejection,disregard for others and the legal system, and hold obsessivethoughts and behaviors,” said Diehl.

The best way to stop this behavior before it progresses is earlyintervention and “to be careful with your personalinformation,” SMU Chief of Police Michael Snellgrovesaid.

“People have a tendency to open up when they are inrelationships, and that can lead to trouble later on,” hesaid.

The best way to prevent being the victim is to look for warningsigns early on and be aware of what is going on around you.

If you or someone around you is the victim of a stalker, you cancontact the SMU Women’s Center at (214) 768-4796 for help or moreinformation.

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