RVAP educates about stalking during January

Edward Cullen, the main character of the Twilight book and movie series, would be arrested for stalking “IRL” — texting shorthand for “In Real Life.”

“Stalking Awareness — Know It. Name It. Stop It” is the theme of a major awareness campaign launched by the University of Iowa Rape Victim Advocacy Program during the month of January, National Stalking Awareness Month, unveiled this week as UI students, staff, and faculty return to classes.

Posters and advertisements featuring Cullen with the message “It’s NOT romantic, it’s NOT funny, and it’s NOT okay” are being distributed across campus and in junior high schools, high schools, and community centers in a four-county area served by RVAP, according to Susan Junis, RVAP education coordinator.

Stalking behavior includes following someone, disabling someone’s car to prevent their movement, and breaking into someone’s house to watch them sleep, some of the behaviors exhibited by Cullen in the Twilight series.

Junis says this is a crime that impacts 3.4 million victims a year, and it should be taken very seriously. For more information, visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org/about or www.uiowa.edu/~rvap/. RVAP offers free, confidential services to female and male victims/survivors of all forms of sexual violence as well as their families and friends.