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Chapin featured in article about bullying, stalking and violence

10/25/2010 —

John Chapin, associate professor of communications at Penn State Beaver, was featured in a Penn State Live article about bullying and domestic violence. "Online posts fuel bullying, domestic violence, say Penn State experts" was featured online on Oct. 15 and can be found at http://live.psu.edu/story/49113 online.

Chapin promotes violence prevention education, with help from the staff of Crisis Center North, a counseling and outreach center in Pittsburgh that provides free services for domestic abuse victims. Chapin, whose work includes going into middle schools, high schools and colleges to talk to classes about bullying, dating and relationship violence, said the students he speaks to know more about violence than he imagined.

Despite their knowledge, most kids, he said, have an optimistic view on violence, in which they think bad things happen only to others. They know about domestic violence, date rape and bullying but don’t think it could happen to them.

"They compare themselves to someone they know is being abused and tell themselves it happens to people like that, not me," Chapin said. "Even women in domestic violence shelters perceive other women as being worse off, fitting the profile of domestic violence better. It’s all about the perception. When you change the perception, you change the behavior."

When it comes to stalking and cyberstalking, Chapin said students are also misinformed. Most high school and college students consider it only abuse when the female was stalking the male, but not vice versa.

"They said that’s what guys do," Chapin said. "It’s the double standard in reverse."

When it comes to stalking online, many students did not consider looking at profiles, status updates and pictures as stalking behavior. One student said to Chapin, "That’s what you’re supposed to do online; it’s not stalking. If you don’t want people reading about you online, don’t post on Facebook."

Chapin can be contacted at jrc11@psu.edu or 724-773-3877.

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