NCTC program educates students about stalking and domestic violence

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GAINESVILLE, TEXAS -- Statistically, one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

To reduce those statistics, a 3-year federal grant is now helping North Central Texas College make its students more aware about stalking and domestic violence.

Today, the grant program coordinator presented a seminar on stalking.

She says it can start as mere admiration, but can grow into a dangerous act of violence.

The Violence Against Women grant is sponsoring presentations -- like this one -- at North Central Texas College.

"It's a lot more common than people think," Amy Mitchell said.

Amy Mitchell is the program coordinator.

"People may say, you know, 'Oh, well this person is doing this to me but it's no big deal,' and it kind of gets downplayed," Amy Mitchell said.

Mitchell is making students aware -- females in particular -- about stalking.

"Any act directed towards a specific person that causes another person to feel fear," Amy Mitchell said.

"Stalking is basically always encompassed in the whole domestic violence scene," Kelly Fiore-Watson said.

Fiore-Watson is a counselor for the program, but also works with the Cooke County crisis center.

In 2011, the center saw 420 domestic violence victims. In 2012, that number jumped to 547.

She says this program is a step in the right direction to reduce those incidents.

"I think this is one of the best things that we could do for our community. The earlier that you intervene by education, the better your numbers will turn out as you grow as a community," Fiore-Watson said.

The program has already comforted Abby Mitchell, whose step-sister was a victim to domestic violence.

"It's really traumatizing. It makes you want to pull your hair out sometimes because she's afraid to answer the phone, she's afraid to go anywhere. I was not aware that we had an organization for situations such as these," Abby Mitchell said.

To contact the Project REV staff, call 940-498-6429. To contact Cooke County's crisis center, Abigail's Arms, call 940-665-2873.

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