Stalking is portrayed throughout tv shows and movies. With the evolution of technology, finding information about an individual has become more accessible.
Wednesday at 8 a.m. PSU’s victim advocate, Stephanie Spitz, hosted the second session in her “Coffee and Conversations” series.
“In my mind, I wanted to leave space where real conversations could be had,” Spitz said. “Just because I’m looking at things with my advocate lens, doesn’t mean other people see it the same way I do. Each of us bring a different perspective to the table either as a student or an educator or whatever that looks like.”
The title of the session was ‘Stalking in The Digital Age’ and stalking and technology were the primary topics of the session.
“For example, the tv show ‘YOU’ with Penn Badgley; how Joe stalks Beck so that’s been a really big show… It took off on Netflix, so I’ve been having a lot more conversations not only with clients and students but with faculty and coworkers about that and just seeing how everyone reacts to Joe in general… so I wanted to prepare in a way that was most relevant and where we can really have these conversations that don’t have to necessarily be on the technical side,” Spitz said.
More shows than just “You” discuss stalking. “Friends” was discussed as well as You during the session, where there is a stalker portrayed in the show and it is portrayed as “romantic and funny.”
“I really liked it, I especially liked it because at first we were just making small talk and Stephanie transitioned into talking about stalking so well,” said Talia Ayala-Feliciangeli, senior in psychology. “Something I really liked was that the material Stephanie presents, it’s not really like a lecture. She really is able to relate it and adapt it to… TV shows we were talking about and personal situations and I think that in today’s session, I really liked her approach to the material because it makes it easy to understand.”
Spitz discussed how geotagging can be used to as a tool for stalkers and the importance of being aware of privacy settings on social media outlets. Stalkers can use geotagging to locate where people have been or where they live.
“What I see a lot more now, which either by society norms or whatever, is a lot more stalking on social media, which is why there’s the term of Facebook stalking or ‘Oh, I’m just checking out things..,” Spitz said. “That is still stalking by its own omission as well as the act of what you are doing. You are gathering information on another human being that did not tell you these things… Even if we took away technology, there would still be stalking. There would still be people showing up at doorsteps, still would be people calling… still be doing all of these things just in different ways.”
There were pamphlets provided with information on what stalking is, how stalking has become easier in the digital age, and how one could get a Protection–From–Stalking order (PFS).
“… I think it’s important that they know that (PFS’s) are available and that it’s here. Again, stalking is two or more instances so to track that, it’s important to keep an incident report log,” Spitz said.
Those in attendance received coffee and got the chance to discuss stalking in a more intimate way and learn while also having a conversation about it.
“I attended because I am the student coordinator for (Students for Violence Prevention), and Stephanie has been holding these sessions..,” Ayala-Feliciangeli said. “I was interested in talking about the topics, like stalking. (I’m interested in) talking about these topics in a more… informal kind of way… because I’m so used to talking about it with other people who have already been trained on these topics so I wanted to see how she approaches them when talking to other people who have not received the same education we did, A) to like actually also know how to approach others when doing tabling events but also I wanted to learn more about it.”
The session was the second of three, with the third being April 10th discussing “sexpectations” and consent.
“I wanted to make it a really inviting atmosphere where everybody could share what was on their mind and discuss different topics but I didn’t want to have it very structured and I wanted to leave a space where we could share actual stories and actual tv shows and things we’re seeing and consuming now so we can challenge those kind of beliefs right now instead of throwing statistics around,” Spitz said.