As a stalking victim you must learned to protect yourself more than the normal person. Your sense of awareness is heightened to the 10th power. What is a sense of normalcy? Wait, when you are a victim of stalking there is no sense of normalcy. The things you once knew about life is no longer accurate. In an instant your world is turned upside down, leaving you feeling helpless and not knowing which way to turn.
As stalking became a strong presence in my life I had to research ways to protect myself. Little did I know the same thing, I would tell my daughter when she asked a question, Google it, I was now using it as my resource and Google had become my best friend.
In my search for information I found valuable safety tips that I was able to use for my safety. I compiled a list of tips I felt was important for my safety. Keep in mind, everyone’s situation is different, and therefore what has helped me, might not be sufficient for the another victim. Everyone needs to look at their situation and determine what safety precautions are right for them. Again, a person reading this that’s never been a victim of stalking may think that this is common sense. However, I cannot stress enough that until you are a victim of stalking you can never begin to understand what you may think is common sense, it’s not that simple in the mind of a victim. Here are 8 safety tips I learned when stalking became a part of my life.
1. Create a safe room – A safe room is a room in your home that you can go to and hide and safely call law enforcement. In this room, you can have all of your pertinent information, including restraining order, cell-phone, and landline phone, along with other important items one may have. Safe-rooms may not be feasible for some people but have that one room that has a closet in it, where you can keep your entire information safe along with other equipment. In my home I have one room, that I have a copy of all of my information and other items for easy access.
2. Create on touch emergency contacts in your phone – To create one touch dial it must be enabled on your cell-phone. Once a contact phone number is saved in your phone, you can set up speed dial entries and then dial them easily by simply pressing the associated numeric key. I have the East Baton Rouge Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office and my mother’s number on speed dial. Use this as an opportunity to set up your important numbers so you can call numbers quickly in case of an incident.
3. Park and walk in well lighted areas – This is self explanatory and a victim should be conscious of it at all times. My suggestion to victims is if the area is not well lit do not park in that area. Your protection is your responsibility. Unfortunately, that means if it’s not safe for you to go out at night or go to a particular store because of lightening then don’t go. Is it an inconvenience? Yes, it is but YOUR life is more important so that means protecting it at all cost.
4. Have an alternate route – I never knew how important this particular tip was. I was use to going the same route to and from work, home, and the mall. That mean's my stalker new my entire route and when I would most likely travel to these places. I had to change my routes to throw off my stalker. Some days it worked some days it did not. Eventually, he figured out that route as well and that meant I had to take extra precaution to make it home safely.
5. Always be aware of your surroundings before leaving home, work, and getting in and out of your car – The importance of being aware of your surroundings is very crucial and plays an important factor to your safety. YOU are in control of ensuring your safety, so take control! I am diligent with checking the parking lots before I go places and when I’m walking to my car. Before I go into restaurants I survey the parking lots to ensure I don’t see his car because if I do I will not go into the place of business. Some might say its paranoia; BUT, I say my safety is my priority and responsibility.
6. Work on getting in and out of your vehicle quickly – Stay off the phone until you are at least in your car with it started and doors locked. If you must be on the phone because you feel more comfortable talking to someone while you are walking, invest in a Bluetooth set that way your hands are free. You must still pay attention. Being on the phone is a distraction and may keep you from moving as fast as you could be if you were not involved in a conversation.
7. Invest in mace – The effects of pepper spray will cause the assailant eyes to shut, start coughing and causes burning of the skin. This should allow the victim some time to get away and seek help. I use to carry mace at one time but then I started carrying a firearm. I’m not justifying firearm use for anyone. This is what I felt that was in my best interest for my safety and the safety of my family. With that came, practicing at the gun range so I was trained to fire a firearm.
8. Enroll in a self-defense class – I did not choose this particular method but the benefit of a self-defense class is that it teaches you to defend yourself for a variety of situations. It can lessen your anxiety when you are in public because you are more confident that you can protect yourself against an attacker.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take control of your safety. Even if you have a restraining order, the restraining order can only protect you if the stalker violates the restraining order. It does not take care of events as such as safety concerns for everyday living. Ultimately, you are responsible and should be prepared. YOU are important and YOU should be concern for your own safety and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. In saying that, I pray that you take the time and create a safety plan that is specific to your particular needs. This will ensure you are better prepared for whatever may occur if there should be an incident.
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Until next time,
Spread your wings and fly…