By Jessica Dean
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One in six American women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking at some point in their lives, and stalking puts victims at increased risk of being attacked or killed. In the digital age, many stalkers can track their victims almost anywhere they go, with terrifying consequences.READ MORE: ACCT Philly Searching For Volunteers To Join Itty Bitty Kitty Committee To Bottle-Feed Newborn Kittens Overnight
Jimmy Manzanares is going to prison after trying to kill his ex-wife.
“And he decides to stab me. Not once, not twice, but 8 times,” his victim Ruby Ramirez said in court. She says he stalked her before the attack, something that technology is making easier than ever.
For example, Benjamin Adams set up surveillance cameras and planted spyware on his victim’s cell phone, tracking her on his computer. Then one night, in front of the cameras, he beat her for four and a half hours.
A good Samaritan found her and called 911: “This girl came over, running for help. Her wrist is cut, her nose is broken, she said there’s an ex-boyfriend attacking her…”
Rachel Hayes says she has been stalked for years by her ex-boyfriend. She believes he tracked her on her social media account.
“It’s just too coincidental, all the things that he’s done,” Rachel said.
Rachel’s attorney is Richard Klineburger. “Within the next 24 hours or so, messages would start to come to her from him saying ‘I know you were here. I know.’ That’s very scary to a person,” Klineburger said.
Klineburger helped Rachel get a protection from abuse order. He even asks his clients to sign a form urging them to disable social media.
“I’ve seen it increase ten-fold over the past couple of years,” Klineburger said.
However, getting off social media isn’t always enough to stop a stalker. One in 4 stalking victims report being harassed by email or instant messaging. Ten percent report being tracked by GPS.
“You’re constantly looking over your shoulder,” said Renee Norris-Jones. Decades ago, she was a victim of domestic violence. Now she volunteers for Women Against Abuse. She says phone apps designed for couples to share information are dangerous.READ MORE: North Philadelphia Church Pastor Mark Hatcher Accused Of Sexually Abusing 3 Minors
“Here’s a cute little app, you can keep track of your loved ones, and where they go,” she said, “and I’m watching this, horrified, going, ‘Oh my God, this is scary. This is scary.'”
Other tracking apps are designed to be hidden so a victim won’t find them.
Rachel says the stalking changed her life.
“I moved across the street from the police station, you know, my first apartment after we split,” she said.
And Facebook will never be a safe place for her, so she uses a different name.
“I act like I’m married. I never post or check in anywhere. I don’t really go anywhere alone, ever.”
If you are a stalking victim, experts suggest one, disable your social media accounts. Two, check if your phone has been compromised and turn off location services. Also consider getting a new phone and phone number. But keep the old one to capture voicemails and threatening texts.
Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime
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