On SafetyPosted: 01/09/2013
Hey guys. I hope you all had a spectacular holiday season, that your New Year’s celebrations or shenanigans were awesome and safe and wonderful, and more importantly, that you’re excited for another year of Gay Girl Advice!
Anyway I was thinking about what to write for y’all and I have also been oot’n’aboot doing things like socializing and watching football games, which is weird because I pretty much don’t actually care about football.
Saturday night was one of those nights, and it was really great because I spent time with some cool humans, the team we were all cheering for won, and they made delicious food and it was a super good time. They live on the opposite side of town from me, which isn’t a big deal, I grew up here so I know my way around.
I got followed home. And not by a cop, and not by someone I knew. I mean legitimately followed by some probably super-creepy person and it was the single most uncomfortable experience I’ve had in a very, very long time. I decided to tell you how to tell when someone is following you, and what to do if it happens, because safety is a really important thing.
1. DO NOT GO STRAIGHT HOME Oh my god, if you’re being followed do not lead that person to the place you live. I realize this is common-sense kind of, but it’s also really really way super vital that you don’t go home. If they know what building or area you live in, that could get really bad really quickly, and that is not something anyone should ever have happen.
2. Go straight to a gas station or 24-hour restaurant. This is one instance where going to Denny’s may actually save your life. Go to a place that has lights and has people, because some creeper tailing you isn’t trying to meet up for a social engagement, they’re more likely hoping you go somewhere dark and quiet to hide. Don’t do that. Be as ostentatious as possible in your choice of destination.
3. Be aware of other vehicles when driving. I don’t mean this in a “pay attention to other cars so you don’t hit them” way, because I assume that’s what almost everyone does when driving anyway. The only reason I noticed this truck following me is that they were tailgating me for a good 3-4 miles. Yes. Miles. It’s irritating at first to have big-ass truck headlights in your rear view mirror, and then when it doesn’t change and they don’t pass you even when they have room, it gets weird. Headlights on cars come in a couple different shapes, and if you pay close enough attention (or are a car dork like me), you can usually tell them apart.
4. Get a vehicle description. Some information is better than no information. If you can tell someone that it was a large vehicle, what color it was, a make/model or other distinguishing features, that’s great. License plate numbers are usually really difficult to see at night, plus they’re hard to remember outright, but a general description of the vehicle following you is a great start.
5. Call someone and tell them what is happening. Fortunately for me, I was able to call my girlfriend and tell her what was up, and what area of town I was driving in. If you can tell at least one person that you’re being followed and the general area, that narrows things down if law enforcement has to get involved.
6. Call the cops. If you think you’re genuinely being followed, and it’s freaking you out, don’t stop your car and ask that person why they’re following you. Call 911 and tell them something is wrong – that’s what they’re there for. If you can’t get an officer to respond, tell the operator the kind of car you’re driving and your license plate number, and where you are. Tell them anything you can that identifies the vehicle following you. If nothing else, it makes the police more aware of something that could be a chronic issue in your area.
I know that these seem really obvious guys, I do, but please consider your personal safety to be of the utmost importance. I know we all like to be the intimidating hero, and that’s well and good up to a point. For me, I keep a baseball bat in the back seat of my car in case
zombies appear I feel I need to defend myself. But when I’m being followed by a strange person in a strange vehicle, I’m not going to try to go hand-to-hand with that person. Furthermore, they might even have a gun, and I’m sure as shit not going to try to tangle with that.
I was lucky, because the truck following me peeled off when they saw me hang up with my girlfriend and get ready to make another phone call. I’m glad that blue glowing screen scared them.
It’s crossed my mind that whoever was following me wasn’t particularly malicious and didn’t intend to harm me. Apparently it’s a thing that some bored humans do on occasion. If this is your hobby, grow the fuck up. We live in a world full of enough bad shit, nobody needs to have panic issues in their own neighborhood because you can’t think of something better to do with your time and gas.
You all have the right to feel safe, but you also have the right to BE safe. Keep that in mind as 2013 continues to unfold for you. I wish all of you nothing but the best of luck in this new year.