We all know from childhood that we should not talk to strangers or get in their cars. But few people know what to do if someone follows you down a dark street, enters the elevator behind you when the doors are closing, or knocks on your apartment door for help.
We decided to find out what to do when meeting potentially dangerous people in order to stay safe.
If You Think Someone Is Following You
If you think someone is watching you, don’t dismiss the idea. Stay alert because unfortunately, no one is immune from this. And it’s better to take some protective measures than to get caught in an unpleasant or even life-threatening situation. This is what to do:
If you walk with headphones on, take them off. That way, you can hear what’s going on around you and it will help you stay alert.
It is also a good idea to keep your eyes up instead of looking at the ground. Not only does this allow you to see your surroundings, but it also makes you look more confident and less scared, which can make you less of a target for a thief who may be following you.
You shouldn’t look back all the time. The person who follows you can see that you are aware of their existence and this can lead them to act.
Enter a crowded subway station. Stay there for a while and try to see your follower. Maybe they’ll leave you alone if they think you’ve decided to stay here too long.
If it happens at night, do not go into dimly lit places such as parks, alleys, narrow streets, etc. Go to a place with lots of light and people, like a cafe, a well-lit avenue, or something similar.
If you have nowhere to go and where to hide while that person continues to follow you, take out your wallet and throw it on the floor.
It may be the reason they are following you in the first place. In that case, your money is better spent than your health or even your life.
If A Stranger Or A Group Of Strangers Harass You
Usually, these situations are not threatening, however, there are some unpleasant exceptions, such as if a person or group in front of you is drunk, for example.
Unfortunately, there no right way to instantly stop harassment, but there are several strategies you can follow:
Keep your facial expressions neutral. Do not show anger or disgust and look directly at the offenders. This type of action has a psychological effect: the attackers perceive that you are not just an object, but a person. It is more difficult to hurt a person than “a thing”.
If a stranger sits next to you or gets too close, extend your arm in front of you, creating an obstacle. Don’t push or touch the harasser. Say firmly, “I want you to stay away from me” or something like that, but be sure to use the pronoun “I”. This has the same effect as the neutral facial expression mentioned above. This recommendation sounds simple, but it is actually not that easy to do.
You can make the abuser think of their own mother. Ask them in a stern voice: “Does your mother know that she raised a street harasser?” The fact is that people generally have a close relationship with their parents. This can help you calm the person down.
If you come across a group of people or a potentially dangerous person and you hear whistles, hooting, or catcalling, take everything you have, like your purse, in your left hand and leave your right free. Experts say it will make you less vulnerable. Also, you can fight that way.
Obviously, the best way to avoid harassment is to simply stay away from situations where harassment could become a problem. Unfortunately, this mission is almost impossible, so be vigilant.
If A Stranger Enters An Elevator With You
It is very important to listen to your inner voice. If someone scares you for any reason, get out of the elevator immediately. It is better to appear paranoid than to get in trouble. You can pretend you forgot something and run through the closing doors.
If you didn’t get a chance to leave, here are the steps you can take:
Keep your back to the button panel, blocking it from the stranger. That way you will prevent the stranger from pressing the stop button, and you can press the help button yourself if you feel threatened.
Do not stand on your back or side to the stranger. Stay with them, face to face. This way, you can see what the stranger is doing, making it difficult for you to be caught off guard.
Remove keys, phone, or any other object that you can use to defend yourself, if necessary.
You can see if a stranger is really dangerous by paying close attention to their behavior. If after entering the elevator they do not look at the panel with buttons and do not try to press any of them, it is an alarming sign.
In that case, even if your inner voice is silent, get out of the elevator as soon as possible.
Have you ever been in situations similar to these? What did you do? Let us know in the comments below.