Sorority holds seminar to recognize stalkers

Love is in the air during Valentine's Day. In some situations, however, that love can turn extreme and possibly life-threatening.

As part of its week of events, and in celebration of Valentine's Day, Gamma Phi Omega international sorority hosted a seminar on the effects of stalking Tuesday. Mindy McGrew and Mindy Wallpe, from Counseling and Psychological Services at Ball State, gave examples of stalking incidents and tips on how to deal with a potential stalker.

Senior Armandina Trevino said she learned about characteristics that she would not normally identify as stalking. The seminar made her more aware, she said.

"A lot of times you think someone's interested when in actuality they have issues," Trevino said. "They devote themselves to you, and it's not healthy."

During the forum the 20 students in attendance received hand-outs and discussed situations in which a victim can identify a potential stalker. They also watched a news report on stalking as well as an excerpt from the television show "Felicity," which dealt with the topic.

McGrew said the warning signs in both the written situations and recordings are common, with women usually being main targets.

"Eighty percent of stalking victims are women, and only 50 percent file a police report," she said. "(However), out of that 50 percent, 80 percent end filing restraining orders."

During the seminar McGrew and Wallpe gave out information to the students about what to look for, including types of stalkers, characteristics, signs of a stalker and solutions to stop them before and after they start.

Sophomore Malcolm McIntyre said while the seminar was informative, he felt there should have been more information on male stalking victims.

"They did more for the women and should have done more for us," McIntyre said. "We don't want to be stalked either."

Senior Bianca Polizzotto said she learned more about what the warning signs were and how to handle a potential stalking situation.

"They had a lot of information that we don't normally look for or consider stalker characteristics," Polizzotto said.

Senior Tamara Pernell agrees.

"I know what to look for when approaching a new friend in a relationship," Pernell said.

Gamma Phi Omega vice president Tiana Lugo said she felt the seminar was important and a good idea in reference to Valentine's Day.

"The amount of stalking that happens on the campus is higher than people think," Lugo said. "It was important to inform people to help them better identify."


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