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  • Jim Leach

DON'T BE HARASSED - SAFETY ADVICE


DON’T BE HARASSED! 


A friend was recently approached by a person who worked at a store she frequented. The person came up to her at her home indicating he followed her from the store or discovered her address someway or another. Our friend was very uncomfortable by this encounter. She let the person know she did not like his behavior and followed up by speaking with his boss.


Harassing behavior and stalking many times go hand in hand with one another. The offender’s actions may be enhanced by performing surveillance on the victim to discover the victim’s habits and routines. In extreme cases an actual assault or abduction may occur.


Below are some tips which, hopefully, will make you safer. These ideas are excerpts from the upcoming book, “SimplySafer” by Jim Leach, available this summer on Amazon.com.

  • Don’t set a pattern of using the same route of travel every time you go shopping, exercise, go to work, etc…

  • Do Not appear to be an easy assault victim, walk in a steady and confident manner.

  • Using headphones to listen to the radio or music may make the time pass faster, but it may also make it easier for someone to sneak up on you.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and if your intuition tells you there is something threatening about a situation, try and remove yourself from the person or area. When you get that “funny feeling” your brain is trying to tell you something is wrong!

  • If you are walking, jogging, or cycling, travel facing traffic and if someone in a vehicle stops, GET AWAY from him. Do Not even wait to see what he is going to say or what he may want. It may seem rude, but it may also save your life.

  • Plan on what might go wrong and have an escape route inmind.

  • Try and exercise where others also exercise. There really is safety in numbers.

  • If you feel you are being stalked;

  • Change direction.

  • If the behavior continues, get away and try to go to a well lighted area where there are other people.

  • Yell “Fire” if you feel you need help. Everybody will look if you yell fire, but if you yell “Help” some people may actually look the other way because they don’t want to get involved!

  • Do your best to schedule shopping trips, etc… in daylight hour, but if you are out at night, be sure to stay in well lighted areas.

  • If possible take a friend with you.

  • If you are going to be gone for a while;

  • Let someone know where you are going.

  • What you are wearing.

  • When you should return.

  • Remember, almost any object you may have in your hand can be used as a weapon. Jab, punch, or slash, and get away!

  • Pepper spray or mace are very effective in escaping a possible attacker. Try and position yourself downrange from the target so the wind won’t blow the irritant back in your face.You do not have to be as accurate with the spray as you do with with a gun or a Taser. Also you must remember to keep a Taser charged for it to work!

  • If you feel you are a victim of harassing behavior, begin by making sure the offender knows their attention to you is unwelcome. Tell them “NO” in no uncertain terms. This must be a VERY DEFINITE“NO”. Anything less may be seen as a positive thing by the harasser. In many jurisdictions, if the person continues to approach you after being told to leave you alone, they may be guilty of a crime.

  • If you are being harassed or stalked, let the police know what is going on. Make them aware of any evidence you may have such as recordings, notes, or social media messages. Be sure and save all such evidence.

  • Don’t forget your phone (which you ALWAYS have with you) is also a video camera and you can use it to capture video evidence and maybescare the harasser away. They may not a video of them harassing you!

  • If the harassing behavior persists, you might consider trying to obtain an Order of Protection from a judge against the offender. You will be required to show proof of how you are being harassed. Studies have shown these orders are effective about 2/3 of the time. Their success seems to depend on the amount of “emotional investment” the harasser feels toward the victim. In other words if this is a casual encounter type of relationship, the harasser may realize it has become a more serious event than he meant for it to be and he will stop. Another situation could be if a long term romantic relationship has existed between the victim and the offender. In these situations the offender may become more determined, emotional, and could become violent if he is served with an Order of Protection. If you are considering an Order of Protection, consult law enforcement officials before actually filing for the Order.


The author, Jim Leach, formerly served as Director of Criminal Investigations for the Tennessee Highway Patrol. His first book, “You Can Tell ME, a simple guide to effective interviewing”, can be found at Amazon.com