GV student shares story in honor of National Stalking Awareness Month


GVL / Bethann Long

Melia Williams, Staff Writer

January is National Stalking Awareness month. In light of this, the Center for Women and Gender Equity at GVSU held an event to bring more awareness to stalking. Social work intern, Finn Marcks, shared his story through a zine he wrote and illustrated. 

“Zine” is short for magazine, and is a self-published, non-commercial print work with only a limited number of copies printed. This zine was titled “Long Beach Rat King,” a reference to an imaginative German folklore about the Rat King and the location of his stalker; Long Beach, California. 

The event began with a read-along on the zine in order for everyone to be on the same page when it was time for the discussion.  

“It felt as if someone had shot me with an arrow from an unknown direction,” Marcks said. “The wound was precise and planned, they could strike again at any time.”

When Marcks was done telling his own story, he then went in-depth on what stalking truly consists of, going into detail about the dangers of social media. 

“Social media literacy is kind of at an all-time low,” Marcks said. “People are encouraged through TikTok, Instagram or Twitter to basically live blog their entire life.”

Marcks said even though many people live very public lives, stalking can still be prevented if the right steps are taken. Attendees discussed different options in order to stay safe, such as making all accounts as private as possible, using a different name online or turning off the Snapchat map so people won’t see your current location.

Unfortunately, in many stalking cases like Marcks’, institutions are oftentimes failing the victims. 

“Tell me why not a single law enforcement officer, detective or a single person sat me down and told me what my options were to protect myself,” Marcks said. 

He explained how, in retrospect, if he were to file a restraining order or PPO then it would have been easier to pursue charges. 

Marcks said he believes the best way to spread awareness was to be as transparent as possible about his own story. This motivated him to publish and speak about his zine. 

“I found that people are more likely to listen if you share a real example, what better way to communicate to people how serious it is than to tell the story of how it happened to me,” Marcks said. 

When reviewing stalking statistics, it was found that it’s mostly women and people in the LGBTQ community that are affected by this crime.

“That statistic includes a lot of the people that go (to GVSU), I think everyone should know about this stuff because it is important,” Marcks said. 

For any students that may be struggling with a stalker or another form of abuse, the victim advocacy center in the Center for Women and Gender Equity is a place on campus that offers resources for students.