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    Posted October 20, 2014 by
    JanaRitter
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Impact Your World

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    Candace Kita is Stepping Up Her Mission to Save More Lives

     
    The all too familiar circumstances of young women abruptly disappearing without a trace have once again become the focus of headline news. This time it’s the tragic discovery of Hannah Graham’s remains and the eerie similarities of Morgan Harrington’s disappearance and murder five years before. Two Virginia college students who got separated from their friends during a typical night out and the recent evidence linking them to the same habitual predator that has been hiding in plain sight.

    While these two particular cases have all the elements to capture the media’s attention, there are millions of women that go missing from places all over the world each year. The World Health Organization adds another scary stat, that one out of every five women is likely to be a victim of rape or attempted rape during her lifetime.

    Candace Kita is on a mission to change all that and she says that the single most effective strategy for prevention is teaching women the everyday essentials of self-protection. She’s hosted a popular LA talk radio show entirely dedicated to doing just that and recently compiled her collection of wisdom into "The Hottie Handbook: A Girl's Guide to Safety", but Candace’s next plan of action is to hit the frontlines and speak directly to the young women at college campuses across the US.

    So what started Candace Kita on this mission exactly? The Los Angeles based model and actress explains that what started as a simple paid modeling gig with her face appearing on a pre-paid phone card, was enough to fuel one man into a delusional, relentless pursuit of her and a terrorizing nightmare for the next five years of her life. While stalking is commonly experienced by people in the entertainment industry or in public profile positions, it can happen to anyone and there are many cases where people aren’t as lucky as Candace. Candace explains that surviving the experience and what she learned from it gave her a sense of duty and a renewed purpose to help save as many other lives as she could.

    “Perhaps even scarier than the stalking itself was finding out that the police can’t even do much to protect you until there is sufficient evidence proving that the person is ‘a credible threat’ by the standards of law. After receiving over 2,000 pieces of mail, evidence of cyberstalking and him contacting pretty much everyone I knew in his constant efforts to track me down, finally a letter that mentioned God, Satan and my death qualified as sufficient proof,” Candace reveals.

    She also explains that being an entertainment industry professional with a public profile eventually convinced the LAPD’s Threat Management Unit to take her case, but she had spent five too many years before that experiencing the harsh reality of people who don’t qualify for police protection.

    “It took being in a situation where I was fearing for my life to find out how little guidance there is for the average woman to protect herself and how much personal information is out there for the taking. It took me years to find out the kind of information that should be readily available to people whose lives are at serious risk. I realized I had to do something to change that because not everyone has the time and resources that I had.” she says.

    In addition to campaigning to make the anti-stalking laws more stringent in the state of California, Candace quickly became known as “the one woman go to resource” for many other entertainment industry professionals falling victim to stalkers and feeling the same helplessness that she did. She realized that she needed to reach people before these situations occurred and possibly prevent many of them from happening at all. So, she hit the airwaves with a weekly radio show that focused on women's safety and featured live call-in discussions. It became one of the highest-rated talk radio shows in Los Angeles and its success only made Candace more aware that there was a real need for her to reach a much bigger demographic and spread awareness about self-protection from all potential dangers.

    Invited to discuss women’s safety issues on national primetime television, Candace has been a featured guest interviewed on major networks such as CBS, Inside Edition, 48 Hours, the ID Network, The Leno Show, and MSNBC. She then decided that an easy to read ‘safety guide’ would be the most effective way to compile all of the essential information into a single resource, accessible to women of all ages, all over the world. “The Hottie Handbook: A Girl’s Guide to Safety" is a straight to the point collection of top 10 lists on personal safety, covering all areas such as internet security, blind dating, dorm rooms, traveling by car or foot, social situations and work. The book also compiles personal stories from women of different ages and walks of life, which makes it a lot easier for everyone to relate to.

    But with the tragic reminders of missing and murdered women, such as Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington and the countless others continuously cycling through the headlines, Candace realizes that she still isn’t doing enough. “There is an urgent need to reach the young women who may not be actively seeking this kind of information until it’s too late and the next logical step for me to address that need is to visit as many college campuses that will have me.”

    To find out more about Candace Kita and her safety advocacy work go directly to her website: www.candacekita.com

    To find out more about 'The Hottie Handbook: A Girl’s Guide to Safety" go to: http://www.hottiehandbook.com/
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