One woman’s first-hand encounter with a stalker shed light on the constant danger women face walking alone in public spaces — and another woman’s response might have just saved her from assault.
22-year-old Gabriella Rich of Old Bridge, New Jersey took to Twitter to share a scary late-night incident.
“Last night some girl came running up to me whispering ‘please pretend to be my friend, this man has been following me for 6 blocks,'” she tweeted.
When Rich hugged the girl, the man cursed then immediately went the other way.
Rich concluded by pleading: “Please ladies stay safe and never walk alone!”
Horror stories emerge
It turns out that Rich’s story was far from a one-off.
Her tweet racked up over 250,000 likes and over 95,000 retweets. Many women chimed in with their own scary stalking stories.
Take for example 21-year-old Savannah Stuple (@suh_vannuh) of Radford, Virginia.
“Omg one night I was packing my car to move and some man parked across the street, got out of his car and started talking and walking towards me. I ran inside so quick locked the doors and my car and turned the lights off. As soon as he left my ass did too!! Creep.”
In an interview with Buzzfeed, she recalled that night with terror.
“When I realized what was going on I felt scared, nauseous, and extremely unsafe. I hope that people know that women are constantly living in fear.”Savannah Stuple
Then there’s Regina Acheampong (@GLDCoastGoddess), 34, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
“A man stopped his car and parked at someone’s house and proceeded to follow me when I was walking my dog. I tried to ignore but he kept yelling and pursuing me. I’m trying to work out in my head what tactical moves I can make if he tried it. Scary!!!”
“The anxiety or fear of being attacked — it changes how you move through this world. It’s really sad.”– Regina Acheampong
They and other women like Melissa Alvarez credited Rich with giving them the courage to share their stories of being stalked.
“I saw other women sharing their experiences that it made me feel comfortable [sharing] mine,” she said of the thread.
Look out for women
Unfortunately, these aren’t just isolated cases in remote places. According to one study, a shocking 1 in 6 women will be stalked in their lifetime.
Over 65% of female victims’ stalkers are current or former intimate partners, and 31% of women stalked are also sexually assaulted.
Ultimately, it’s on all of us to both make sure that people are aware of the dangers women face daily and do our part to keep them safe. Hopefully, stories like Rich’s will one day be ancient history.
“I simply just wanted to tell other females to always be safe because I can’t change a man’s mind; I can only protect other women so they can be aware of their surroundings.”– Gabriella Rich
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