Having been in Canterbury for nearly 3 months I haven’t had any bad experiences. Sure, I’ve ignored my mum’s warnings of not walking down the long, well lit, CCTV camera covered path between campus and the student village when I’ve been really drunk. But nothing has ever happened. Nothing has ever made me feel unsafe.

Until yesterday.

This is what I sent to my friends back home over facebook:

so basically on wednesday between 11:15 and 11:30 i was walking to Jo’s, headphones in, on my phone, and this guy waves at me and like steps into my path, i take my head phones out as he says hi or whatever. he asks me where main campus is and i tell him, he then says that he knows where it is he just wanted to talk to me. i turn around to him and say – pretty damn nastily – ‘thats just creepy’ and storm off. He didn’t follow me to jo’s or anything. safety

I assumed it was just a guy trying his luck.

Then today about 4:15i was around the same bit of campus coming back from jo’s and he walks from behind me and walks next to me and says hi – he says it like we’re friends or something which really freaks me out – i just sort of look at him shocked, didn’t say anything. he says ‘I haven’t really wanted to talk to anyone but i wanted to talk to you because you’re so pretty’, i said ‘ok’ – im still walking whilst this is happening, walking faster and not looking at him – he then says ‘i’m aaron by the way’ and I say ‘great’ – in my usual sarcastic voice. theres a road crossing and as i was about to step into the road he says ‘can i stop you for 2 seconds’ and I just keep walking. He didn’t follow me or anything. but the fact that its happened twice in one week, the fact that its basically in the same place (on campus and literally like 15 seconds from the first place he did it) and the way he said hi the second time like he knew me and introduced himself really freaked me out.

****

So I called Campus Security and they sent someone round to talk to me yesterday, get  a detailed description of him and everything. Luckily one of the housemates came home and we sat in the kitchen for five hours talking about it, tv shows we watched as children and gossiping about our friends. But apart from those five hours I was in tears until 4am when I finally managed to stop peaking out the curtains to see if anyone was out there and got to bed. I woke up at 8am exhausted with the puffiest eyes I’ve ever seen. I then showered and started crying as the conditioner got to work.

It’s truly terrifying. Not because of what I know he’s done, as I understand it’s very minimal. But because I don’t know if he has followed me before and because I’m worried about how it might escalate.

Especially as Jo told me that two guys in a car asked where the on campus club was a few days ago and she told them, they then asked her to get in the car and show them. Of course she said no and ran the hell away.

Luckily today Campus Security came to talk to me again to tell me that they’ve found him on CCTV and that he is a student, so there is a chance that I will see him around campus. But if he does anything I can call their emergency number and they’ll come right away.

I’m so thankful to the security team for dealing with it so fast and making me freak out a lot less!

But here are some tips in case you ever feel that you are being followed:

1 – look over your shoulder every 2mins or less and try to do things like crossing the street to see if they do that too.

2 – Keep walking. Just because you stop they might not, you’re potentially closing the gap between you and putting yourself in more danger.

3 – Keep to well lit areas, if you see a shop or bar or even a house that has people in it go to it. You really are safer if there are people around you

4  – pretend to be on the phone to someone – if you’re by a road or a pick up point then you can pretend like you can see someone who is picking you up then walk like you’re going to a car.

5 – Call the police and say this loudly

6  – Draw attention to the situation, yell, scream, grab a stranger and ask for help. Do something that alerts others to what is going on

7 – don’t go straight home. If this person hasn’t attempted to mug you then they could be planning something worse. A lot of websites say go to a friends but then you’re alerting them to the home of someone close to you. I’d say try and go to a police station or hospital  or shop or something like that and call the police and family from there and explain to a staff member what is happening.

hopefully you’ll never need this tips

Stay safe out there!

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