I used to bounce in Detroit for quite awhile. I’ve lived here my whole life. Needless to say, I’ve got street smarts. Detroit isn’t the hellhole people make it out to be. But, it isn’t paradise either. I decided to write this guide, to hopefully help some of you deal with these creepy, and frankly sick individuals. Please print it, pass it around, learn it, and above all, use it.
The Guilt Game
First things first. I need to say this. Many people will agree. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Period. There is no excuse a creeper can make, that should make you feel otherwise. Some of them are really good at guilting you. I’ve even met folks who blame themselves for being stalked. Everyone, Male, Female, Transgender. Gay, Straight, Bi, any race or religion has the right to enjoy your life without being creeped on. Period. Remember that. You didn’t ask for crazy. Crazy happens. Don’t let ANYONE fool you into thinking you asked for it.
Socially Awkward vs the Creeps
Do be aware some men and women are just socially awkward. This doesn’t make them creeps. If they are too forward, let them know. They’ll move on, and no more problems will be had. The creep, however, won’t listen. This is where the line is drawn in most cases. Use your gut instincts.
What’s in a name?
Make a fake name. This may seem obvious, but when put on the spot, folks forget. Many folks slip up due to fear, guilt, or just insecurity about the situation.
So do this. Make a fake first and last name. Maybe think of it as a little story. Now, cement this by alerting friends, or even family, that if you tell someone THAT name, it’s a signal. That person has been stalking/creeping on you, or you don’t like the vibe. It’s a silent signal, but trust me. With supporting friends, it won’t be ignored, and the creep is none the wiser.
So you’ve got a creep
Al right. So you’ve landed yourself in a situation. Make sure you’ve set up a fake name. If not? Now’s a good time. Even if they know your real name, any confusion you can throw at a stalker/creep is good. Right now, public is your friend. Well lit places. Stores. Make sure you walk up to clerks, other folks. Be brave enough to alert someone to what’s going on. You never know if that walk home is going to be safe. So make sure you up your odds.
Do NOT ignore odd signs/sounds
Animals get spooked a little too much? Acting weird near the door/windows? Ring the police immediately. Report a possible prowler.
Crashing sounds, ect. Do the same. Ignoring the creep only let’s them think they’re getting away with a level of invading your space, and life. You want to minimize this.
Turn the tables
Creeps usually depend on one thing. Their plan. Now, it’s impossible to determine what someone is thinking, and let’s be honest. Crazy is a whole Disneyland of fetishes, likes, and weird signals someone perceives you send them that gives them a right to bother you.
If possible, and they are following, but not running after you. Or, if you have had to talk to them and they are literally too close for you to avoid, wave. Wave to anyone else. Speak very, very loudly. Put THEM on the spot. It does indeed put them in the defensive. It may even screw up a sick plan of theirs.
Get inside stores, any place with someone who works there. If you see a stranger you feel is safe, call them over. Mouth the words help. Get to a phone if you do not have one. And if need be, make a scene. Scream, shout, anything needed to get the creep away from you. Modesty isn’t your friend here.
Firstly, the Golden Rule. Do not ever. EVER, set your drink down and walk away. No, not even to turn your back and talk to another friend. Assume someone will slip something in it. Why? Because for every nice person, is a mean/creepy one. Chances are, if they see a drink, dropped by a girl/guy they dig, you make an easy mark. You want to avoid being anything close to that. When possible, cover your drink with your hand.
Music is loud in any one of those settings. Never go to any one of the three alone, charge your phone before going out, and establish a simple hand signal for help. Using a friendly system of bailing one another out avoids pushy men/women, and creeps. Again, make it casual signs. Things they wouldn’t notice, but friends would. I often tell folks to do the old scratching the chin thing. It’s not a big deal, but it lets your friends know you don’t want to be talking to whomever is bothering you.
At a bar/club, do not hesitate to tell a bouncer about said person. It’s our job, and trust me from personal experience, we often do that job because we WANT to help others. You aren’t a bother. You are a person who we want safe. Never forget that. At a party, before going, have a backup friend. And let said friend, or even a group of them know exactly where you’ll be. Address, and folks who might be there. This cuts down on the need to explain more, and free’s you up to get the hell out of there if things go south.
Never, ever get into the car with someone you don’t, or barely know. A friends friend, is not your friend. If you do not have a ride, it’s better to let some bar staff know this. Also, friends. Make sure they know of anyone offering you rides, because this person might have a bad history. Again, minimize danger with proper communication.
Multiple creepers, stances, and being aware
Often, a creeper won’t work alone. Never stay on the phone in a bad neighborhood. Become aware of footprints. Sticks snapping. Cars driving by. Note repeat drive by’s. Make sure you avoid them by ducking into stores and watching them drive by again. Repeat license numbers out loud to avoid losing them. Do so until you can ask a clerk/worker for pen and paper to write it down. Report the license when you get home as sketchy.
If you see men running toward you from different angles, it’s night, and you don’t see anything open, again. This is when modesty HAS to go out the window. You run in the opposite direction while pulling out that phone and punch in 9-1-1. Leave it on while you talk out loud. Find any advantage you can while moving. Are you able to turn a corner quicker? Can you get up that hill faster that it seems they can? Any ground that favors you is ground you want. This is a dire situation, and you want to be prepared.
One trick I often use is the corners of buildings. Survey your areas a lot with your back to them. You don’t want someone sneaking up. It sounds simple, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t know do this. Or, forget to do it.
Never, never go into the “bad end of town” alone. Ever. Even if you feel brave. Make sure someone knows you are going there, too. In general, a group of four is better than two. You want to minimize your level of looking like a target.
Think of the situation. How dangerous did this person seem? Write every detail about them you can on paper. Including, and especially times. Every encounter, every window peek. Everything. If possible, transfer that to a notebook. Hard copies on paper are still the best evidence. Times help stop alibi’s.
Tell parents. Tell friends. Alert neighbors. Local shop owners. Why ALL of these? The more eyes that see this creep around, the more talk begins generating. Trust me, someone who gets labeled creepy in a neighborhood by enough people won’t get a moments rest. You want that level of safety for you.
Ring police with your notes. Make a report. That puts the creep on file with police. This, is important. Think not just of yourself for a moment, but other possibles this person might be harassing. Enough reports, means more eyes on them. Again, you want this.
Lastly, make sure you go back to that name. It’s not just a fake name. It’s a code. Get used to saying it some, so when the moment happens, and I pray it never does for anyone here, you won’t stall in saying it. If you’re Jerry from Maine, now you’re Tom from Ohio, who’s just visiting family for a day or two.
The difference is that name’s meaning. It’s safety. It’s a let’s get the hell out of here please.
You’ve dealt with the creeper too much, ring the police. You have your notebook. Now, this is where it comes into play.
This notebook will help with paperwork. It reduces your time to find out your options, such as a personal protection order, and the polices time to get this creep into the records.
Make sure you record any new incidents if need be, and DO follow up with further calls to the police.
Preparing for creepers: things you should have
I’ve had a lot of questions on extra things to carry in a purse, backpack or even pockets. So let’s go over some good, and some bad ones.
LED Pocket Light. This is the most overlooked item for many. They’re cheap now, and available all over the place. Well lit means well informed of what that banging sound was. Shining it at a creep following you? It might just spook him, since you can make out his details better. It’s not a weapon, but light is still your friend.
Pepper Spray. The old standby. If you go this route, DO get one with the marking ink in it. If you can’t find it in your local stores, order from amazon. Even if said harasser runs? Chances are you’ll tag part of him or her with that ink. And it doesn’t wash out easily. Perfect for a police lineup.
Canes vs sword canes. This is a hotly debated issue. Always pick a cane. Why not sword canes? In many states in the US, and in many other places, they’re a concealed weapon. That’s a felony. You don’t want to get busted yourself, while trying to help protect yourself or another. A cane on the other hand, is a good prodding/poking tool. And, god forbid you need it, a good whap to the knee of a potential assailant should make them think twice.
Stun gun.Please check your local laws on these. I don’t want anyone busted for this one. If you can’t carry one? I do recommend the pepper spray option.
A pocket knife. Make sure you adhere to the legal limits for this one. Again, it’s not worth you getting arrested. Besides being something to help you feel more secure, they are handy for daily life. Keep yours sharp, and in good shape. It’s about minimizing the idea that your a target.
Got a backpack/gymbag? Bring a hoody/hat and or other thing to help conceal your normal look. Duck into some place well lit, move past some folks and throw this stuff on. The less noticeable you are until you can get home, the better.
The flash light option is a must no matter what you carry. Lastly, I cannot stress a cellphone enough. Don’t have one that’s hooked up? Still charge and carry one. Most companies are required to let you dial 9-1-1 or whatever emergency number is your local extension.
Preparing for the physical
As someone recommended, you do not want to be caught with no training at all in hand to hand. That doesn’t mean being the next Bruce Lee. It does mean at least knowing how to throw a punch properly, dodge one, and if need be, take one and return it.
Many places like your local community center will offer free classes in self defense. Or safety preparation. Look these up online, attend. There is no reason not to learn a little.
Do not forget the basics
Your name is a code.
If someone begins getting too creepy or close, make a scene. Make sure you draw as much attention to them as possible.
Get as many people in your immediate neighborhood aware of said person as possible. You want a web of safety here. Further more, you might just help save someone else too.
Never go to parties, clubs, or bars without telling others or going with them. Do not get into cars with anyone you didn’t arrive with, or folks you barely or don’t know.
Keep a notebook on said person should they become a habit. Do not forget to include times.