January is National Stalking Awareness Month.


Stalking is a crime of power and control, and defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involved repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear,” by the National Institute of Justice.

1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men will be stalked in their lifetime (U.S. Department of Justice). Most of the perpetrators are former/current intimate partners to the victims, or someone they know. This is not romantic or flattering, and in 1 out of 5 stalking cases, weapons are used to threaten or harm the victim.

These 7.5 million American victims affected by stalking are mostly 18-24 years old, which are the ages of most students on our campus.

Common things stalkers do (according to The National Center for Victims of Crime, Stalking Resource Center):

  • Repeatedly call you
  • Follow you, show up wherever you are
  • Sending unwanted gifts, letters, emails, texts
  • Damage your home, car, or other property
  • Monitor your phone calls or computer use
  • Use technology like hidden cameras or GPS to track where you go.
  • Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends or pets.
  • Find out about you by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through garbage, contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
  • Other actions that control, frighten or track you.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, and victims are encouraged to keep a log of all the incidents they experience. This can be used as evidence if the victim decides to get law enforcement involved. Trust your instincts, if you are feeling unsafe from actions such as these, you probably are unsafe.


Get involved on campus to prevent GBV:

  • To get involved in the RE Initiative, find out more about becoming a peer advocate, or a peer educator, call the WSU 24/7 Confidential GBV Helpline at 507.457.5610 or email the Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Intervention Coordinator at hgerdes@winona.edu or website www.winona.edu/RE

Confidential Resources for Survivors:

  • WSU 24/7 Gender-Based Violence Helpline 507.457.5610
  • WSU Health, Counseling, & Wellness Services 507.457.5160
  • WRC of Winona Crisis Line 507.452.4453

Reporting Resources for Survivors:

  • Heather Gerdes- GBV Prevention & Intervention Coordinator 507.457.2225
  • Lori Mikl- Title IX Coordinator 507.457.5008
  • WSU Security 507.457.5555
  • In an Emergency, call 911



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Michaela Gaffke

Michaela graduated in 2017 with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her hometown is Coon Rapids, MN and her hobbies include collecting perfume and knitting. Besides journalism, Michaela loves to write fiction!

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