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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

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Saint Mary's BAVO hosts stalking awareness event

The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) hosted “Stones of Strength: Painting Together for Stalker Awareness" on Thursday night. 

Honoring the end of Stalking Awareness Month, BAVO invited students to decorate glow-in-the-dark stones with acrylic paint. BAVO coordinator Shannon Warfield said the event was designed to highlight the importance of showing students facing violence that they are not alone.

“We just wanted to bring awareness to stalking by shedding some light on it. In order to do that, we've got some glow-in-the-dark rocks that we are painting inspirational words on or drawing or coloring,” Warfield said. “We are just bringing beauty into this unfortunate situation.” 

“I think that's really great that Saint Mary's has events like this through BAVO because not a lot of schools and people talk about it. It's a very taboo topic,” Kayli Zelinkse-Mader, BAVO student assistant, said. 

Warfield shared a similar sentiment and touched on what it means to have BAVO on the campus of a historically women's college. 

“To me, it's amazing. College campuses that are larger don't have anything like BAVO. So for us to be a smaller, all-girls school that offers resources like BAVO is tremendous. I mean, in regards to caring for and supporting our students,” Warfield said.

Freshman Ellie York said she appreciates BAVO’s work and the stalking awareness event. York attended the event with friends and wrote inspirational reminders on their stones.

“I think it's good to have events like this so that people know about BAVO just in case they need it,” York said.

Sophomore Allyson Krause attended the event and said awareness of the problem of stalking is underrepresented in the media. Krause is part of the president's committee on sexual violence and wanted to show her support for BAVO by coming to the event.

“I think that stalking is a form of relationship violence. It is a violence that is not really talked about in the media very much,” she said.

Krause went on to explain that stalking is a form of domestic and emotional violence that does not garner similar levels of attention as sexual violence and assault. 

“We talk about sexual violence and assault quite frequently but stalking isnt really touched on,” Krause said.

Zelinske-Mader said BAVO plays an important role on campus in offering support and resources to those affected or indirectly affected.

“And I think the fact that Saint Mary's is pushing the social norm of being silent about those things and making people aware is important,” Zelinske-Mader said. “Whether they can help the issue by preventing it or teaching people how to support one another or teaching people how to support themselves is a really big thing.”