By Soleil Cardenas
East Los Angeles Women’s Center advocate, Gabby Orozco, taught students that stalking is a behavior in which a victim has their safety (or their family’s safety) threatened when they are willfully and maliciously followed or harassed.
East Los Angeles College Student Health Center partnered with ELAWC last Thursday to host a webinar to help students understand stalking on campus.
The ELAWC cautions students to be aware of their surroundings and recognize the signs of stalking.
The Zoom webinar was led by Madelin Melara and Gabby Orozco who both work for ELAWC.
Jessica Olivas, the ELAC student health center coordinator, planned this collaboration with ELAWC to provide more support to students.
Orozco began the presentation by educating the student attendees on what exactly stalking is.
Orozco continued on to cover stalker stereotypes stating, “Oftentimes, stalkers have a very charming attitude and they’re very attractive, friendly and sociable. Their demeanor kind of comes off as too perfect. They are very passionate and could be very romantic.”
Although there are some stalker stereotypes, Melara said, “Keep in mind, there’s no checkbox list…It’s just important to keep an open mind to a lot of things.”
Melara continues on to say, “ Just stay aware, keep an open mind, especially when you’re meeting someone new. Stay aware and get to know them until you feel safe with this person.”
The hosts also discussed popular shows and movies that include stalking.
Their first example was a scene from “The Notebook” when the two protagonists, Noah and Allie, first meet. Noah quickly becomes obsessed with Allie and will stop at nothing to gain her attention.
The next example was from the Netflix series “YOU” in which the main character, Joe Goldberg, stalks several women and stops at nothing to control their lives.
The fictional character Joe Goldberg is an extreme example of a stalker in comparison to Noah from “The Notebook”
Orozco described different types of stalking behavior whether that be in person or cyberstalking.
She recommends students be cautious when sharing their schedule with other students unless they are trusted, because a stalker may try to follow a student around based on their schedule.
When students make it clear that certain behaviors are unwanted to another student and that student continues, it can become stalking.
A few examples of this unwanted behavior may include unexpected gifts, showing up to one’s home unannounced and reaching out to one’s friends to pass a message along.
Cyberstalking is similarly based on unwanted behavior from an individual.
Orozco describes how being cyberstalked can be presented in many ways whether it be through text message or on social media.
A stalker who has an individuals number may repeadtely text after they have been asked to stop. The stalker may also call repeatedly until they answer.
On social media the individual may receive direct messages or several comments on a post from one person.
Orozco warns students that stalkers will stop at nothing to get into contact with you. Some may even download a text app to reach out from a fake number.
There are many ways a person could make another person feel uncomfortable. The most important thing is to stay aware and utilize support groups on campus such as ELAC Student Health Center.
Students in relationships should also become cautious of red flags and unhealthy behaviors that may turn into a form of stalking.
Regarding behaviors such as sharing locations with a significant other, Melara said, “I think…many people look at it as, ‘Oh,they just want to make sure I’m okay, see how I’m doing.’
“Which is totally fine but again…be aware… Because it can [lead to,] ‘What are you doing here? Why are you there? You have no business being there…’Then the accusations start.”
A partner constantly worrying about the other partner’s whereabouts can become threatening and possibly lead to physical or verbal abuse.
A partner becoming extremely jealous, putting the other partner down in front of loved ones and damaging their personal property can all be considered red flags students should stay aware of.
ELAWC works to assure students that there are many on-campus resources such as the campus police or a trusted professor if there is immediate danger.
If an individual is not in immediate danger, there are support groups students can reach out to through the Student Health Center or ELAWC.
For more information reach out to the ELAWC campus advocate at email@example.com.
Students can also find more information and support at www.elawc.org.