So…this post is a little “off brand,” but I feel like it’s an important conversation to have.
Without getting into too many details, my girlfriends and I had a very unsettling encounter late yesterday evening. There was an individual who went out of his way to harass one of my friends, and this person later became extremely threatening.
After the initial encounter, we all tried to lessen her concern and chalked it up to bad timing. For her part, she knew that something about the whole situation was messed up, but she tried to shake it. She said she didn’t want to blow it out of proportion or distract from the evening. She had avoided it becoming a larger incident right from the start by listening to her gut, being observant of her surroundings (regardless of how nice this particular area was…and it was super nice), and decided not to take any risks, even at the cost of seeming impolite or “not nice.”
(This Oprah segment from 2008 has stayed with me since I first saw it: “Women often believe that if you’re not nice, you increase the likelihood of danger and risk, when really the exact opposite is true.”)
In her eyes, it was over now, and she was going to move on. But as the evening continued, she still had a very uneasy feeling. As we all eventually decided to make our way home, her instincts told her that she didn’t want to head outside alone, and she asked me to walk with her. It appeared that while she had decided to shake off the earlier encounter, the shady ass individual had not.
Long story short, we eventually found ourselves smack dab in the middle of what could have been an episode of Law & Order. It was pretty frightening, and sort of unreal as it all played out. Luckily, this person was eventually found, and detained. From what I understand, we were not the only women who had the misfortune of encountering this individual that evening. My friend was brave, and cautious, and knew that her and my safety were the most important things–and because she listened to her instincts (and continued to do so after we came across this person a second time), she saved herself and me from what could have been a very dangerous situation.
As a mother to a little girl, this experience was eye-opening and extremely jarring. By listening to our instincts and employing knowledge gleamed over the years from the countless hour of “true crime” TV, we acted in a way to not only keep us safe, but also gave us the best chance to get this person apprehended.
It’s important for every individual to make efforts to ensure their personal safety, but as a mother I feel an even more overwhelming responsibility to take care of myself, at any cost.
Everyone involved last night is okay, but we’re all a bit rattled. But please do me a favor: take precautionary measures to keep yourself safe. Whether you’re in a gorgeous neighborhood, or walking through a dark, parking garage, you must always be alert, cautious and prepared. My biggest takeaways from last night are to never, ever hesitate to call the police. Originally, I wanted to call the local station since I didn’t immediately deem it “an emergency,” but as the wonderful officer told us, “You call 911. Always.” And, to look at people straight in the eye…because you never know when you’ll need to ID them.
In searching for a quality list of “personal safety tips” for women, there was a glaring hole in what should be a topic drenched in material, which in and of itself is a concern. That being said, I did find a quick, easily digestible list of tips to keep in mind next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
If you have any questions or suggestions on how we can all keep ourselves safe, please share in the comments!!!