Stalking Awareness Month: How to protect yourself from becoming - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Stalking Awareness Month: How to protect yourself from becoming a victim

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Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and unfortunately- difficult to prosecute. 

When you think of a stalker, you often think of a complete stranger following your every move.

But more times than not, a stalker will be someone you know.

"A lot of the times, you've talked to them somewhere, you've had a conversation with them, they know some stuff about you," said Debbie Goettsch, Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Supervisor at Haven House. "They're going to go reach out, they're going to try and get good with your siblings or parents. So that way, they can get more information on you."

In this day and age, technology is everywhere- making you more vulnerable to a so-called, cyber stalker. 

Location settings on social media, that you may not know are on, will make you easier to follow.

"I know on Facebook they have, 'nearby friends', and on Snapchat they have your location settings and you can literally see what house they're in," said Goettsch. "So, just making sure your location settings are off, or that's not linked to your social media."

It's also important to switch up your daily routine-

"Take different routes," said Lisbeth Ramirez, Enhanced Advocate at Haven House. "So if they're going to work, to take a different route every morning, or at least switch it up often. So that way, if they do have someone that is stalking them, they're not taking the same path every morning, and making it obvious as to where they're going."

Sometimes people stalk their boyfriends or girlfriends while they're dating. 

They check up on them, text or call them all the time and expect instant responses, follow them, and generally keep track of them even when they haven't made plans to be together. 

"The abuser is pretending to be the victim, by harming personal or working relationships, creating false profiles on social media," said Ramirez. "Noticing a lot of notifications of failed attempted log-ins."

These stalking behaviors can be part of an abusive relationship.

"If you're trying to get out of that relationship, get on your own phone plan," adds Goettsch. "That way, your boyfriend, husband, whoever it is, can not see who you're talking to, everything like that."

Stalking is a crime and can turn very dangerous. 

Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska, each have their own definition of stalking.

You can contact a victim advocate, such as Haven House, or your local police to learn about stalking laws and your rights in your state. 

Haven House, South Sioux City, NE: (402) 494-7592
Haven House, Wayne, NE: (402) 375-4633   

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