What to do when a girl is followed at night by strangers while she is returning home ?


In today's world women are not safe outside their home especially at late hours. Lets check this article to know how a woman can be under the watchful eyes of those who wait for her under the veil of darkness and what all steps she can take to protect herself from those evils.

Violence against women is increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in our country. We hear about it daily in the news and all around us. Nirbhaya gang rape case, Soumya rape and murder case etc are only some of them. Due to fear, embarrassment and victim shaming many of the victims refuse to come forward to even report their cases and acquire justice. But even in the small number of cases which are reported each year, the accused often slip through the hands of law using the loopholes in our judicial system. This is a major setback to the justice system in our country and because of this people are losing their faith in our system fast and taking matters into their own hands. The security of women outside their homes and even at home is becoming a matter of grave concern. The people in our country should start seeing women as a fellow human being with compassion and respect rather than seeing her as an object of lust. When you are followed by any potentially sinister characters at night, taking the below steps might save your life

Make a call to your family to let them know of the situation

When you feel that you are followed by someone at night, its a good idea to make a phone call to your family informing them of your location. Its good to especially do this in a loud voice such that your follower can also hear you and this might scare him off. You can even ask one of your family members to come and pick you up, preferably your father or brother and make sure the follower overhears this part too.

Call any toll free helpline number of the police

Another important thing which you can do is to call the police and share them your location and other details if you feel that you are followed by any antisocial elements. You can also tell them about the description of the person following you if you had got a good look at his face. The police patrols many of the roads and areas at night and because of the recent rape cases reported by women, they are more vigilant and have made their watches more strict. You can also send an SMS or call to a toll free number provided by the police for such problems.

Go to any nearby houses which you know

At times when you feel that you are followed by someone it's a good idea to go to someone's house that you know which is on the way and tell them about the situation. There are many benefits for this. One is that you can get immediate help and won't have to wait for the police or your family members to arrive as time is very important in such instances. Another thing is that the people in the house might know the person following you and maybe able to talk to him or scare him off. They can even raise the alarm and get help from neighboring houses if the situation gets out of hand.

Always carry a small pen knife or pepper spray with you

Due to the recent increase in assaults against women its usually a good idea to carry some things with you like pepper spray or a small pen knife for your protection and use it when prompted. You may not know in what situation something like that becomes handy. You can even use a small knife to pick locks or cause some small cuts to your abductors in case you are kidnapped or if you are encountering a life threatening situation. Its better to have and not need than to need and not have something. You can carry a Swiss pocket knife which has a lot of tools or even something simple as a safety pin in order to inflict a small injury and make a quick getaway.

Scream loudly

Another measure which you can take in case there is an assault on you is to scream as loudly as you can or make loud noises repeatedly. This is particularly a good idea because a scream will attract the attention of others and people who are nearby will get alerted to the situation and might rush to the scene. People who usually do the wrong things have a tendency to flee the scene if they think others are going to come and apprehend them. It is something of a psychological approach. You can also use this as a decoy to take away the focus of your attacker for a moment and in that moment you can turn the tables on him and attack him with a pepper spray or a pocket knife while his focus is wandering.

Take them to a place that you know and run to keep losing them

Another tactic to lose someone who is following you is to take them someplace which you think they are not very familiar with or one which you know very well. Remember that they are following you and not vice versa. The advantage lies with you since you know the place very well and using the darkness of the night as a cover you can either run or hide if you think you are in danger. You can even use this tactic to lead them into a trap or a place where you are sure to get help.

Conclusion

Some or all of the above measures has the potential to save your life in times of such danger. So make sure that you read these steps very well and keep them in your mind. Also don't forget to share these with your friends and family and keep yourself updated about the latest news and happenings around you as. Try to get home as early as possible and in case if you need to come home late make sure you have a friend or family member along with you. Avoid walking in dark alleys or by lanes even if that means a shortcut to home. Try to walk mostly in areas well lit and one where there are many people around. Above all don't keep your eyes glued to your smartphone but keep an eye out for danger.


Comments

Author: Juana12 Sep 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

Here a few other things that can be done –
1. Click a picture of the person and share it with all your phone contacts
2. As suggested by the author make that phone call to inform that you are being followed and in a loud audible voice say that you are sharing the individual’s picture.
3. If you don’t have pepper spray or a Swiss knife, then make use of your keys. Jab them in the eyes of the person if he molests or attacks you
4. Alternatively, look for things that you can use as a weapon – a stone or sand/mud. If you grab some sand you can throw it into the person’s eyes or hit him with the stone
5. Don’t wait to walk into a known person’s house. The person following you in all probability will not know where you stay. Confidently ring the door bell of the first house you see with lights on. Look for homes with name boards, where a man and a woman’s name are lettered – you’ll be safer there. Meanwhile, the person following you will scoot, thinking you have reached home
6. A little knowledge on self-defence can come in handy. If the attacker comes close lift your knee and jab it hard in his privates – that should leave him in a lot of pain. Instead of fighting the attacker and warding off his hands go for his privates – a nice hard punch, between the legs. This is not the time to behave coy, your life is in danger, do whatever you can to protect yourself

Author: Libin Abraham13 Sep 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 12

Juana- I must say that the points which you mentioned are an excellent addition to the ones which I have wrote. I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to mention it here and as a woman I am sure these things must have run through your mind at least once before. Although its good, I must express my doubt on the practicality of some of those and would like to make some remarks on it. In reference to your first point, I feel like I must point out that its already night and taking a decent picture outdoors at night is not always an easy thing to do even when you use a flash and there are no close objects to bounce off the light. For one, if you use a flash and the back cam of your mobile to take a picture I’m not sure that you would get a very good one considering the distance between you and him, the lack of proper light and the fact that he is also moving. In case he is very near to you then I wouldn’t advise you waste your time in taking a picture of him but rather get ready to attack or defend. If you are using the front cam for taking a picture, I must say most mobiles in the market don’t have a flash for front cams and due to the lower pixel resolution of the front cam it would be even worse, although I suggest you put it in night mode while taking the picture for comparatively better performance. Even if you manage to point the cam at him with the intention of taking a photo, he can easily spoil that by covering his face and I don’t think you will have time to send it to all the contacts in your phonebook. Also one another thing which I must point out is that taking his picture might irritate him or set him off or he can use that as an excuse to come and talk with you. But in case you do manage to take a decent picture of him then I think it would be more useful for the police later than your contacts and even if he covers up his face they can still use the picture to narrow down the list of suspects. One alternative thing you can do is to track his movement using your front camera while you are walking, preferably taking a video although at low clarity.
In reference to your second point, I think I must say it’s a bit pointless mentioning it ,considering the fact that he already knows that you are going to share his picture once you take it, obviously since there is no use for you to keep it to yourself and just saying it aloud isn’t going to make him give up his attempt on you but you can still try. He may get scared if he thinks you have some means to identify him.
Your third point is good which mentions the use of alternatives, keys in the absence of Swiss knife or spray. I must say the fourth point is very thoughtful which kills two birds with one stone. It involves sending a non verbal message to your follower when you are picking up a stone that you are ready for his attack and it also involves the usage of things around you to attack or defend. The fifth point is also good although I think you are more likely to get better help at a house that you know than one which you don’t. People usually don’t like to be disturbed late at night and if they don’t see your follower then they may think you are worrying for no reason, may not understand you or might get displeased thinking you are wasting their time but if you feel like the situation demands it then do so by all means. Your sixth and last point is also excellent.

Author: Juana13 Sep 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

I’ll get straight to the points that you raised in response to my comments.

Presence of mind is what can save a person from a probable vicious attack or dangerous situation.

1. Clicking a picture at night – It is not a photo shoot, so I’ll frankly not be worried about the quality of the image. The plan is to scare away the stalker. When someone in distress clicks a picture of the perpetrator, the latter is not going to evaluate the possibility of the picture being grainy, because of the lack of light. He will see it as his identity being shared with others and in all probability scoot
2. Sharing images with contacts – there are loads of ways to share images instantly - WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Go live on FB. He can cover his face, but we’re not discussing what he can do. I want to share what a girl can/should do
3. By sharing his image I make him identifiable. And know another thing, stalkers are generally cowards. So, I’ll not really be bothered about setting him off. If he does get irritated and attacks me, I will use Plan B – Swiss knife, keys, kick in the groin etc.
4. Point 2, I don’t think he will know I am going to share the picture unless he hears me say it. I could just be clicking him, to share it with the cops, later. If he is not made aware that I am sharing the image, at that instant, he might still want/try to harm me or steal my phone. It is important that he knows that his image is captured and is being shared
5. It is important to keep your wits about you. The stalker will not know whether the doorbell that I ring belongs to a stranger’s house. He is more likely to run than stand and wait for the consequences. If the inmates refuse to help, I’d stand outside their door and create a ruckus, loud enough to wake up the rest of the neighbourhood. That would definitely have residents peep out of their windows and balconies. Not everyone may help, but that doesn’t mean I don’t attempt getting help. That would be foolish
6. In the meantime, I can call a PCR and share my location

Author: Libin Abraham13 Sep 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 10

Juana- After reading your first set of comments I felt like you were talking about taking a decent picture of the guy to share with your contacts, preferably a clear picture of his face such that others can see and recognize him ,otherwise what’s the point in sharing it with your contacts. If its grainy and not clear then like I said before the police will have more use with it than your contacts. But if you are only talking about taking his picture as a tactic to scare him or both, then it might work. Also I don’t understand by what you mean when you say we are not talking about what he can do because I was under the impression that your actions were related to his. For example if he runs towards you then you run, if he attacks then you attack or defend accordingly or if he only just follows, you keep an eye out. I am merely foreseeing and stating some of the possible things that he can do and the moves which you can use to counter or get around it. Also another thing is, I’m not sure whether stalkers are generally cowards or not and neither am I sure where you get that conclusion from. No one in their right mind with good intentions at heart would stalk a girl at night and stalkers , especially at night, if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and if they think no one is watching them, might not behave like cowards. I really don’t understand what you mean when you say that you are not bothered about setting him off because I thought the whole point of writing this article was due to the fact that you were bothered by him. If I were you I would really be bothered by him and would not give him any reason to attack me by irritating him or setting him off because then it would be just like I am initiating the attack.

In reference to your fourth point in the last comment, I would just like to ask you to imagine this- you are following a girl at night with bad intentions which you clearly know is wrong. Suddenly she turns around and takes a picture of you on her phone. Naturally what will be your first thought? You obviously understood that she took it as a means to identify you and sooner or later she is going to share it with someone if something goes wrong because she did not take it to simply keep it on her phone and look at how handsome you are. Naturally your thoughts go to the police, you get scared and your worst fears are confirmed when you overhear her talking on the phone about it. So I really think your follower will understand this fact once you take his picture and even if you don’t talk about it on the phone. If you do then you are only giving him confirmation of his fears and nothing new.

Talking about your fifth point in the last comment, I really don’t think your follower is going to run just because he thinks that you reached home. He clearly hasn’t done anything wrong if he has only followed you so he may not actually need to “run”. He may or may not run, might linger near that home maintaining a good long distance or even take to the shadows watching you for a while before giving up his attempt. Any of these or more can happen and I’m just mentioning the possibilities instead of only sticking with one. Also I don’t think the inmates will refuse to help you although they might not be too happy about it considering the lateness of the hour or their own priorities. But in case you are that unlucky, I think you can create a ruckus just like you said to gain attention.

Finally, I think I covered the sixth point that you mentioned in your last comment in my article. Please refer to my second point in the article.

Author: Juana13 Sep 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 15

To begin with, I get the feeling that you do not want suggestions because you’ve countered almost all of them.

Now to address your points –

1. Time is crucial and sharing the picture with all contacts saves times. You don’t waste time to select people on your contact list to share the image with. With one click you get the picture out. You do it before the guy can act
2. Sharing the image is also of help, in case you get kidnapped or brutally attacked or raped or killed. It helps identify the culprit
3. However, as I said in my earlier response, the picture is clicked more to warn the stalker that you are aware of his presence and that you have taken precautionary action. The question is not about how the stalker reacts – your purpose is to ensure your safety
4. I responded to your point “…I must point out is that taking his picture might irritate him or set him off…” when I said we’re not talking about what the stalker can do. A woman should attempt to protect herself and not be concerned about how her action would irritate him
5. A man who is brave would attack in broad daylight, not stalk or corner a woman in dark lanes. And stalking itself is a cowardly act
6. Again “…I really don’t understand what you mean when you say that you are not bothered about setting him off…” Please read through your comment for the phrases that you had used and then match them in context to my responses
7. Next, what you suggest is, for a woman to feel scared and intimidated by the stalker, rather than intimidate him with her behaviour. “…not give him any reason to attack me by irritating him or setting him off because then it would be just like I am initiating the attack.” If a man is stalking you, his intent is already suspicious. A woman has to act, before the perpetrator acts
8. Your paragraph starting “In reference” ending “nothing new” doesn’t go down well with me. If a woman is able to instil fear in the man, she probably achieves to unnerve him. And if he still attacks her, then she should attack back with the pepper spray/Swiss knife that you suggested
9. The person may not run, fair enough – the woman still calls for help. No woman who experiences stalking would choose to walk home alone. So, it doesn’t really matter if the man is hiding in the shadows because if she has called the cops and she identifies him lurking in the shadows, he’ll be picked up
10. I began with giving suggestions that work, so women reading this article can benefit from it. You have countered most of them. Let me remind you that making a call to the family or calling the police as you suggested in your article would in your words “only giving him confirmation of his fears and nothing new”
11. And finally, since you’re being so sceptical with regards to all that I had to suggest I’ll give my honest opinion about the tips that you shared. Any woman who can outrun a man and lose him would have to be an excellent athlete. How many women do you know, who can do that? Also, the place would have to be a maze, for her to lose him. It's only in movies that you have people running in alleys and hiding from their attackers. So, how practical are these suggestions?

Author: Libin Abraham15 Sep 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

Juana- how can you say that I do not welcome suggestions seeing as I have already appreciated some of the points which you have mentioned in your first set of comments on my article. I have merely expressed my doubts on the practicality of one or two of those. I have no further intention in saying more about those points since we have already discussed about it a great deal and also because I don’t see any point in proceeding further. Honestly, I think we are looking at the same coin from different sides. But in reference to your last question let me tell you that I do not see women as inferior to men. I don’t see it as impossible that a woman can outrun a man in the context in which I suggested it. There are many factors depending on the actual scenario like the distance between them, the visibility of the area in the darkness, the no. of buildings in the area, familiarity of the place, whether or not he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, condition of the road, physique of the two etc… Due to fear, a person who is in danger may run faster than a normal person just like when a dog chases you. Also girls these days workout more and try to keep themselves in shape. So anyway I don’t see it as a completely impossible feat like you mentioned. These are just some steps that a girl can take for her safety when she is in this particular situation. I just want you to know that I am not trying to pick up a fight with you, so allow me to act like a gentleman and leave the final word to you on this matter.

Author: Partha Kansabanik16 Sep 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

I have read the article and the subsequent debate/discussion. I find both the article and subsequent discussion very informative and useful for ladies. Here both the author and a senior lady Member have discussed various ways to prevent physical assault on a lonely lady on a lonely road. In this connection I would like to submit the following, in addition to the points mentioned above:-

1. The main aim of a lady is to save herself from any assault. For this purpose she has to do something which is unexpected to the person(s) who is/are following her.
2. Every lady must keep a whistle. She must use it if her sixth sense perceives any danger.
3. She must try to maintain the distance between her and her pursuers.
4. She must enter any house in the locality. If there is no house, she can enter any kiosk and seek the help of the kiosk-owner or other customers.
5. If the distance between the lady and her pursuers is less and she feels that the pursuers are within touching distance, she must buy some time by various means. She can use pepper spray, small knife and safety pins. Even if the lady spray the deodorants in the eyes of her pursuers, she can buy time and increase the distance.
6. However, the ladies who reach home late at night, must take some precautions. They must not take lift. They must try to avail public transport, even if they have to wait for long to avail public transport. They must avoid lonely roads and as far as possible, move in group at night.

The key-sentence in such situation is: "Save yourself by any means". No theory may be applicable at such crucial moment. Do the unexpected to thwart your pursuers.

Author: umesh18 Sep 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

It is a well known fact that a lady moving alone through a secluded place in the late evening or night time is not safe. Whatever claim we do about our good society it is a fact that in such circumstances she is not safe.

Many solutions have been told by the author as well as the responders and some of them are very practical and easy while others will have to be exercised with practice and determination.

The girl should understand the fact that she may be able to handle one person herself but she is helpless if a group of persons corner her. She should also know that these bad elements track the daily routes of girls after their work or college etc and plan and ambush.

So it is not so simple to save oneself with a phone call as the group of loafers along with the girl will be at a far off place by the time help comes for rescue.

I am not discouraging for use of self defence measures but some practice and ability to use them should be seen before hand much before any eventuality.



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