RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Valentine’s Day is a week from Tuesday, and many of us are getting ready.

However, according to North Carolina State University, the holiday also comes with a warning about safety.

While some of us are making reservations or finding gifts, NC State is emphasizing what is NOT love — stalking.

“It’s all around us and it’s not talked about because it’s so taboo and I just wanted to bring more awareness and comfortability to the space,” said Makenzie Rink, a senior at NC State.

She led a workshop through the Women’s Center called “Stalking is Not Romantic.”

The center held events in January for Stalking Awareness Month.

“There’s this media portrayal of what we might call aggressive pursuit, or what we could actually call stalking, it’s romanticized in a way,” said Dr. Kaelie Giffel, Assistant Director for Interpersonal Violence (IPV) Prevention Education and Training at the NC State Women’s Center.

(Chloe Rafferty/CBS 17)

According to a study at Sam Houston State University, college-aged students are almost twice as likely to experience stalking than the general public. They’re also less likely to report it.

The Women’s Center warns that stalking comes in all different forms, big and small, and you might not even realize it’s happening.

“If somebody is texting you kind of continuously and you’re like ‘please leave me alone,’ that’s kind of harassment, but it can constitute stalking if they continue to do that,” said Dr. Giffel.

The NC State Women’s Center said stalking behaviors also include:

  • Damaging a person’s property
  • Showing up unexpectedly
  • Calling or texting repeatedly
  • Commenting or liking all or most of a person’s social media posts
  • Tapping phone calls
  • Going through a person’s emails and/or texts
(Chloe Rafferty/CBS 17)

“It can happen in any form of relationship,” said Rink. “If you or somebody you know is in fear based off of some interaction they’re having with somebody else, if it’s repetitive and continuous, it’s stalking.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, Dr. Giffel said you can reach out to the InterAct of Wake County crisis helpline for domestic violence at 919-727-7740, or their helpline for sexual assault at 919-828-3005.

The NC State Women’s Center also has trained advocates available to offer crisis intervention, emotional support, resources and referrals. Students can contact the 24/7 Sexual Assault Helpline at 919-515-4444 or ncsuadvocate@ncsu.edu to be connected with an advocate.

For more information, click here.