In response to recent attacks on women, advocates seek to change the culture

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Another random attack here in Iowa has fellow women shocked and a little shaken, but advocates and police are saying women should not be afraid to live their life.

With a number of attacks on women, most recently the murder of 22-year-old Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena, some say now is the time for the culture to change to avoid these attacks all together.

In connection to recent attacks on women that are out alone, the Dubuque Police Department encourages women to stay vigilant.

"A lot of times we see things out there when we're out for our jog or out for a hike or whatever the case may be, that don't sit well with us," said Lt. Joe Messerich of the Dubuque Police Department. "But we don't listen to our instincts and we don't report it. And a lot of times that can make the difference."

"I think a lot of people now are realizing: 'I can't ignore this anymore,'" said Kristen Field, Violence Prevention Educator for the Riverview Center in Dubuque.

"A lot of women there's the stereotype that they're weak, they can't defend themselves, they're easily targeted," Field said.

"The criminals out there, especially the type that prey on people, they're looking for the easy target, they're looking for the easy victim," said Lt. Messerich.

"That opens the doorway for men and whoever else to say: 'oh well this is the stereotype, so I can get away with this,'" said Field.

Field said they have seen multiple women come in to the Riverview Center in response to recent attacks on women, saying they are afraid to do things like go out for a walk or jog by themselves. They fear that something similar to what happened with the murder of Barquin Arozamena, or even three years ago on the streets in Dubuque, when then 19-year-old Helmon Betwell attacked and murdered 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl.

"That shouldn't be the way that anybody feels, nobody should have to fear the things that they enjoy or just things that you need to do to be healthy," said Field.

"Every time someone tells me when I'm running that I shouldn't be running by myself or should I be wearing a sports bra only, or it's late, or early, or that wooded part of the trail- doesn't that scare you?" said Emily Bloome, an avid runner who says the recent attacks have not swayed her mind. "Why should I have to be responsible for all of those things when all I want to do is go out out and be active?"

Bloome said people often ask her if she is concerned considering the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, where investigators say 24-year-old Cristhian Rivera approached her while she was jogging and later led them to her body. She said she will continue to jog by herself.

"Running by myself allows me to clear my head and focus and makes a better mom, partner," said Bloome.

Field argues the best way to change the culture is through education- teaching kids at a young age the proper ways to communicate with women, but also handling rejection.

"Just like math, just like science, just like anything- you don't just learn how to be a good person," said Field.

"We have to teach guys that, yeah you might be rejected, it might really not feel good, but instead of behaving violently about that, here's how you can deal with that instead," said Field.

"I don't want to have to monitor what I'm doing all the time," said Bloome. "Why aren't we focusing on the people are doing these things? It almost feels like blame to some extent."

Field from the Riverview Center said the goal here is not to make men seem like the bad guys, but rather to create better standards for men and their relationships with women.