Sep 222003
 
Authors: Jesse McLain

More than one out of every 10 women college students has dealt

or will deal with stalking, said www.womensenews.org.

According to current Colorado law, stalking involves a credible

threat and a person being somehow continuously contacted, either

directly or through an immediate family member or partner in a

relationship. Threats also must cause a “reasonable person to

suffer emotional distress,” according to the law.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in reports of stalking in the

past five years,” said Jody Jessup, assistant director in the

Office of Women’s Programs and Studies.

According to Jessup, there is an increase in available resources

for victims and recent changes to Colorado law are to thank for

those resources.

“Stalking just became a felony in Colorado,” Jessup said. “We

want to make sure the public’s information is accurate and dismiss

some of the myths, because if we don’t victims can be victimized

all over again.”

Most stalkers may not even know they are breaking the law and

most cases typically evolve from two main situations.

“Typically a bad break-up or fantasy relationships are the main

ways that stalking begins,” Jessup said. “Most are looking for

control over a situation and don’t find their behavior

illegal.”

A Class 5 Felony, stalking carries a possible sentence of one to

three years and $1,000 to $100,000 in fines, assuming the

perpetrator has no prior record.

“Stalking isn’t something we deal with everyday, but it does

occur,” said Rita Davis, press information officer for Fort Collins

Police Services.

However, college students have more reason to worry than the

general population.

“College campuses are often dangerous and stalking is one of the

more common crimes. College women are far more likely to be stalked

than other women,” according to www.womensenews.org.

Stalking can include non-threatening mail or email, vandalism,

rape, attempted murder and murder.

“A lot of the cases go unreported,” said Jackie Nguyen, senior

staff psychologist at CSU’s Department of Counseling Services.

“Many people are unaware that it is even stalking until it becomes

more serious or threatening.”

No matter what the level of seriousness, the best way to deal

with a possible stalker is to report it to someone. CSU students

can seek assistance with the CSUPD, the Counseling Services Center

and the Women’s Programs and Studies department.

“We have a really positive history of justice on this campus,”

Jessup said.

Stalking victims are diverse and can suffer with consequences

long after a crime has been committed.

“Stalking happens to both men and women,” Jessup said. “It can

cause long-term emotional distress, consistent worry and physical

danger.”

 

 

 

 

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