Community learns to ‘Stand Up, Don’t Stand By’ through Shepherd campaign
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The 15th Annual Stalking Awareness Month was held last month across the nation, as a “call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking,” according to www.stalkingawareness.org. This call to action was not missed by the students and staff members who support the Stand Up, Don’t Stand By Campaign on Shepherd University’s campus.
On Jan. 31, members of the Shepherd University and Shepherdstown community learned about the legal details related to stalking. Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center Victim Advocate for Jefferson County Jenna Hyde held a stalking awareness information table to start off the day’s events in the Ram’s Den, before moving to the Rumsey Gallery to host an informational meeting in the early afternoon.
“It’s a collaboration,” said SU Title Nine Coordinator Annie Lewin. “We’ve been working together for many years. With Stand Up, Don’t Stand By, we wanted to do a stalking awareness event, and Jenna contacted us, so we just coordinated efforts.
“Stand Up, Don’t Stand By is an institutional campaign to empower the campus community members to intervene and stop things from having, such as domestic and sexual violence. We also promote cultural respect on campus,” Lewin said. “I feel like this is a place where people stand up and intervene, even if it’s not this extreme, just standing up to disrespect.
“With this event, we’re giving the school the option to ask questions about stalking,” Lewin said.
According to Hyde, the event started with a good response from the Shepherd University community, despite that day’s bitter temperatures.
“We always have a few students who come by to take information,” Hyde said. “We’re here to share with them what we do and what sort of support we can offer.
“Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear,” Hyde said. “I know we definitely see stalking happen to anyone, no matter the age. A lot of times it is tied in with other violence, as well.”
According to Hyde, those who think they may be experiencing stalking should keep a detailed record of the stalking instances. If the stalking is happening online, victims should screen shot and print off the evidence, and place it, along with any other evidence, into a paper bag. This evidence may help law enforcement identify and stop the perpetrator.
“Your best bet is to take online attacks to law enforcement,” Hyde said. “A lot of times, when it’s the repeated behavior of online stalking, not too much work must be done.”
Hyde also emphasized during the event, how EPEC has a 24/7 emergency hotline available at 304-263-8292, for those who need confidential assistance in the cases of stalking, as well as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and human trafficking.
For more information about EPEC, visit www.epecwv.org or email email@example.com.