According to the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center website, 12 percent of college students in America are affected by stalking. Stalking can come in the form of unwarranted phone calls and texts, the physical act of following or excessive messages on social media.
Students at our University are not immune to this. The CMHC offers both group and individual counseling, confidential advocacy and online links to outside resources for students affected by interpersonal violence. If a stalking victim turned to the CMHC for help and searched the word “stalking” on the website, they would find a PDF titled “Documentation STALKING INCIDENT LOG.”
Incident logs include spaces for the victim to compile important information, such as an incident description, location, witnesses, etc. These documented details can be used for police reports when filing a protective or restraining order or to reinforce victim’s memories when testifying against their stalker.
However, the PDF has not been accessible to UT students for many years. The website link was broken when I checked for the first time on Nov. 1. Kathryn Redd, the associate director for prevention and outreach at the CMHC, said the incident log page has not been on the website since 2013.
According to Redd, the CMHC does not offer this printable PDF resource anymore, but they offer a stalking documentation section on their website with tips. Giving survivors the tangible resource of an incident log is a more effective and a direct way to help.
Recently, the link was amended to redirect to an informational page about stalking. While the information is helpful, the website should provide the resource the link originally provided. Incident logs are a direct way to help students affected by stalking to fight the problem effectively.
Juan Alvarez, an advertising and journalism junior, has been impacted by stalking in the past. Alvarez said a report log would have been beneficial to him when keeping track of the stalking encounters he faced.
The CMHC must reinstate this PDF as a resource for stalking victims. There is an entire page dedicated to stalking documentation. Simply adding a link to a working PDF of the incident log would be beneficial for UT students such as Alvarez. It is a simple solution, but one that will aid students who are dealing with interpersonal violence. It is a resource that prompts victims to remember important information and serves as an organized way for victims to document stalking instances and file protective orders against stalkers.
Torres is a Plan II, English & creative writing junior from San Antonio.