SafeHouse launches campaign to focus on dangers of stalking

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

SafeHouse of Shelby County is working through the month of January to educate the public through a social media campaign about the dangers of stalking.

“Social media is the number one tool that stalkers use to lurk and pry on those they are stalking,” said SafeHouse Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Valencia Moss. “We are trying to educate people about how easy it is to find out information about someone through their social media accounts. If you are using Facebook or Instagram, and stalkers are watching you, they can see where you are located if you don’t have your GPS locations on those apps turned off.”

Moss said SafeHouse is participating in a national campaign to educate individuals about stalking, and will post information on the group’s Facebook page about the dangers of stalking for the 31 days of January.

“Each day we are posting different information about stalking,” Moss said. “We have 2, 338 followers on our Facebook page so we try to reach the most amount of people in the quickest amount of time. We have had a wonderful response so far from people commenting about some of the information we posted, and people are saying they appreciate the information.”

Moss said according to the Stalking Research Center, there are 7.5 million individuals being stalked in the United States each year.

“Stalking is anything that is unwarranted,” Moss said. “At first, it may appear as flattery if it is from someone showing you a lot of attention, but when it becomes relentless and someone does not consent to it, it becomes a problem. We talk about healthy relationships all year, and we really try to focus on what is a healthy relationship. When someone does not consent to the action, that is when it becomes a problem.”

Moss said there is a wide age range for individuals subjected to stalking, but the highest stalking cases have included ages 13-24.

“The reason for these ages is because the middle school, high school, and college age students, use social media the most,” Moss said. “When you are being stalked, it is a very scary time, and we are working to provide different tips and advice for what to do if you ever find yourself in that situation.”

For more information about the campaign, visit SafeHouse of Shelby County on Facebook or Safehouse.org.