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Speaker & Activist Anna Nasset Shares Her Story In Stalking Awareness Month Lecture

Speaker and activist Anna Nasset partnered with Penn State’s Gender Equity Center to host a lecture, “White Sunglasses,” at 7 p.m. on January 23 in the HUB’s Flex Theater to spread awareness during Stalking Awareness Month.

From 2011 until 2019, Nasset dealt with a stalker. Her case eventually went to court, with her stalker being sentenced to 10 years in prison. Her own experience made her want to educate others on the matter.

“I think for me, what propelled me to speak is that my case led to the longest sentencing in our country’s history and got me thinking what can I do with that,” Nasset said. “I felt I needed to make sure others were able to get help and to educate others on the matter.”

At the beginning of the lecture, Nasset shared how from a very young age she found herself being trained to keep quiet about the disheartening events of sexual assault and harassment from her youth. This lead to her wearing white sunglasses as a kid, seeing the glasses as a means of protection. Nasset continued to struggle with abuse until she finally found her way out of a bad marriage and moved to Washington state and began running a fine art gallery.

Nasset noted that she was “finally crushing it at life” until the stalking started and then expressed the importance of context when it comes to stalking.

“Context is key in that what is scary to me may not be scary to someone else,” Nasset said. “Me, I was gifted a painting and someone could see that as very nice. But for me, once I realized this person was watching me, it was seen as something as scary.”

Once the stalking started, Nasset would receive nonstop messages from her stalker and grew concerned with the development. The stalker would consistently talk about how great it was to see her, despite Nasset never seeing him before.

After talking to one of her friends about the matter, he made her aware that the stalker had a history of this behavior, so she took it to the police. The police were already aware of the man, who they then arrested. He was sentenced to one year in prison.

Despite serving a prison sentence, the stalker continued his behavior after becoming free again. This behavior lead to Nasset’s business suffering and eventually closing, as she didn’t feel safe not only for herself but also for her community.

A trip away to help out her family helped her feel a sense of relief and freedom from her stalker. This led to her making the decision to move out and start over. Still, after settling in her new location, her stalker managed to find her, but fortunately, her case finally went to court after building a case for two and half years. She eventually won her case.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and unfortunately, there are millions of stories that are just like Nasset’s. The majority of people don’t take stalking seriously, and Nasset believes that more and more people see it as a joke, especially with social media and the phrase “Let’s stalk their Instagram.”

A 2022 survey showed that 13 million people are stalked every day in the United States. One in three are women while one in six are men. 82% of victims are stalked by someone they know and 76% of intimate partner femicides involve stalking before the murder. And finally, when it comes to race, the majority of stalking cases are of American Indian women.

At the end of the lecture, Nasset provided advice for those who may be victims of stalking. Warning signs of someone being stalked can range from fear of leaving home, depression and lack of involvement, distraction, hypervigilance, or being scared of a former partner.

So what can you do to help a friend in need? Nasset suggested asking if they are in danger, offering to assist in reporting, keeping all evidence because this can be helpful in building a case, and being there for the person. Finally, if you think someone you know is stalking someone, call out the behavior and offer to help them to stop.

For information on stalking, check out the Stand Up Resources or the Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center (SPARC) site.

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About the Author

Nina Jeffries

Nina Jeffries is a secondary education major, minoring in English from Uniontown, PA. If you don't know where that is, you're not alone. She's a Pittsburgh girl at heart, has an unhealthy obsession with "The Office", and still is in denial about One Direction breaking up. You can follow her on Twitter @njeffries06 and on Instagram @nina.jeffries06.

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