Verizon Wireless raises awareness for stalking victims

It's estimated one in four women will become victims of stalking.  Now, thanks to a generous donation, a local organization is well on its way to changing that statistic, at least here in Nebraska.

It's a $10,000 gift to help combat the growing number of stalkers and abusers using new technology to target their victims.  Sarah Balcom hears about abusive relationships every day from women who call the crisis line at the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition.  She says, “it gets to that point of terror, they don't know what's going to happen next.”

Balcom says new technology is adding new challenges to fighting domestic abuse.  “It's been detrimental because it leaves tracks.  Technology that helps us easily know our children are safe, now abusers are using it to find their partners.”

The easy access of the Internet, GPS tracking devices and text messaging make stalking one of the most common elements of abuse.  3.4 million women are stalked each year and many more never report the crime.

Still, Balcom knows technology can be a positive tool for victims and survivors to find support groups and help.

A partnership with Verizon Wireless hopes to help.  Verizon's foundation is donating $10,000 to the coalition.  Balcom says, “they're going to use technology in their programs and teach safety for women on how to use technology and take back control of their life.”

For women who haven't found a way out? Balcom wants them to hear this: “it's never their fault and they should reach out to the advocates in the community that'll help them.”

The coalition is located in downtown Lincoln at 10th and “O” streets.

If you need help, call the crisis line at 476 6256