HONOLULU (KHON2) — Shows like You and The Fall tend to romanticize the life of a stalker. Misunderstood, loyal to family, tortured and awkwardly romantic is the picture we are given.

The very real reality of stalking is that it disrupts lives, engenders fear, isolates victims, bolsters abuse and violence, violates the sense of self and brings shame. Typically perpetrated by former partners, stalking is an act of power and dominance, even when stalkers lurk in the shadows.

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The Domestic Violence Action Center has announced that they are providing information on how to recognize and protect yourself against stalkers.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and DVAC intends to empower individuals to protect themselves from stalkers.

The Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center said that one in six women and one in seven men will experience some form of stalking in their lifetime. One in seven stalking victims are forced to relocate for their own safety.

A local resident, Genia, has taken her experience with stalking and empowered herself to speak out, to educate and to embolden others to take control of their situation. Even with her stamina in the face of this abuse, Genia’s stalker continues to stalk her from a distance, using social media to do so.

According to DVAC, “a full quarter of clients currently receiving services from DVAC has experienced stalking in one form or another.”

“Stalking impacts a stunning percentage of domestic violence survivors,” says Nanci Kreidman, CEO and co-founder of the Domestic Violence Action Center. “It’s awful to be followed, tracked, hacked, pursued and not knowing when, in what ways, or how long it will go on because abusers can continue to cause harm even when you have removed yourself from them and taken all of the necessary steps to set yourself up for safety.”

The mental and emotional toll of stalking can impact survivors in many ways. Often times, they will experience depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health impacts.

“It really gets to me,” shared Genia, “It starts to wear me down, like, why won’t he just leave me alone?”

DVAC has worked with Genia to create a safety plan and to help her monitor and protect her social media accounts.

DVAC provided some indicators for knowing if you are being targeted by a stalker:

  1. Is the person contacting you constantly?
  2. Does this person have your details before you give them?
  3. Is this person monitoring your activities?
  4. Does this person show up unannounced?
  5. Does this person Give unwanted or inappropriate gifts?

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Knowing how to protect yourself is the first step in regaining control of your life.