What should I do if I feel like I’m being followed? It’s random I know, but with all the girls being snatched lately, it could help anyone that happens to read this and needs advice. Our campus is open to the public, so anything can happen.
Followed and Fearful
Dear Followed and Fearful,
Wow, thank you for submitting your urgent question, especially at this time when there seems to be an increase in missing persons and buzz around sex trafficking. I want to remind you all that I am a young woman of this student body and this question can be difficult to answer because I too tend to look over my shoulder from time to time. However, I am going to relay some advice I have been given:
Although, I will acknowledge that anyone can fall victim to abduction, there seems to be a target toward women, so my advice is for the ladies.
Please defend yourselves. Holding keys in between the knuckles is an old school trick that can serve as a weapon, a sharp object that can cut through the skin. Mace, an aerosol self-defense spray is also a very popular defense mechanism that is small and easy to carry.
Let someone know where you are at all times, especially if you are alone. Whenever you are going somewhere you have an uneasy feeling about the environment, share your location with friends or family so someone knows where you are.
Do not forget to be observant. Be aware of any suspicious figures that seem to be following you, or even any strange things on your car such as zip-ties or pieces of paper. These items can be used by kidnappers to track and follow you.
Also, for the allies out there, make sure to check up on your friends. Walk your friend to their door, have them call you when you get home and talk to your friends about their safety — there can be something you can do to prevent violent behavior.
Let me make myself clear, while we are expecting women to “be safe,” we also have to talk to the people we enable everyday that prey on innocent people. Asking women what they could have done differently to prevent this violence is dismissive and victim-blaming. Women should not have to live in fear of someone taking advantage of them. Women should be able to dress and walk freely without having to prepare for the worst. Women must protect themselves from bars, parking lots, gas stations and even their own homes. No more telling women to “be safe” without making the world a safer place for women.