Safe Haven offers stalking awareness training workshop

Samantha Didion

On Jan. 23, Safe Haven hosted a Stalking Awareness Training at the Ashland Public Library that lasted from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.. This beneficial event was free and open to the public.

This event was in light of January being stalking awareness month.

During this training workshop, attendees learned about the overview of stalking, how to identify stalking, behaviors with stalking and provide awareness to the dynamics of this crime.

Alison Webb was the speaker at the event and she is the Outreach and Prevention Coordinator at Safe Haven.

“The key points about stalking or the definition is a pattern of behavior that would cause someone to feel fear,” Webb said. “So it’s going to be incidents that happened more than once, it’s going to be two or more times, and it’s going to be something that is causing you emotional distress or is threatening behavior, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always violent behavior. It could just be a threat of violence.”

Some incidents that were categorized in the workshop as emotional distress from being stalked include an unwanted present being sent, a phone call, or someone showing up somewhere uninvited, but most stressed was that it is something that happens over and over again because that is when fear usually becomes involved.

“If you know someone who is experiencing stalking the best and the first thing to do is listen to them and listen to what they have to say. People who have been stalked often second guess themselves and so they think they are reading into things or they’re not really sure if it counts as stalking,” Webb said. “The first thing to do is validate their concerns and then the next thing to do is you can have them keep a log of everything that is happening.

A log is available for print on the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) website.

“The most important thing someone should know, whether you are a survivor or someone who is witnessing stalking in someone else’s life, the most important thing to do is to know that there is help available and you should never be without hope because there is never a case that is too far gone.”

There are resources available online and resources available in our own community for somebody that is experiencing stalking.

The Rape crisis domestic violence safe haven. This is a program of the Appleseed community mental help center. They offer services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and stalking.

“If you are experiencing any type of stalking or if you’re not really even sure you are but you want to know more about it we have services available for you,” Webb said. “If you give us (Safe Haven) a call or meet with us, we can help you develop a safety plan that will fit your life, it is tailored to your needs because no to cases are the same. So we want to work with you to tailor that safety plan to your particular story.”

For help, visit the crisis hotline is 419-289-8085. The U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Contact Safe Haven for individualized group workshops on stalking awareness.