I was walking across Finsbury Park this afternoon and was followed for 20 minutes or so by a man. He kept walking really close behind me and whenever I stopped he stopped too and was watching me very obviously. I've never felt threatened in the park before (especially not in the day) but wanted to make other women aware as I felt very unsafe. In the end I spoke to another woman who was walking and she thankfully pretended she knew me so we could walk off together- he did continue to follow us for some time after though.
Description: white, overweight, age around mid 20's, wearing glasses, trackies and a white t shirt.
So awful and hope you're OK, you absolutely did the right thing, well done. My understanding is that creepery like this escalates over time so always always report just in case.
I'm about 110 now, (slight exaggeration) and have student age daughters and am furious at the number of incidents we have collectively endured over our lifetimes..not just in London, elsewhere too. Everything from shouting from vans/cars the following, creeping up behind, sitting right next to you on an empty tube carriage or bus, shoving a phone playing porn in your face, masturbation, rarely, but really terrifying at the time, random acts of bizarre violence - a whack round the head while standing in a queue or being shoved up against a wall and screamed at. (why? For laughs?? )
I'm not putting this out there to frighten people and I'm sorry if it does... . Just to highlight the extent of this issue. I would love to think we could put these people off by a few choice words but in most of these situations are far too scary and intimidating for that. And I don't buy the learning difficulty bit either: as a group of behaviours it's far far too widespread.
Just wish I could take a cattle prod out with me sometimes.
A colleague did the phone thing in the first week of a new job...
I’ve had the creepy old man sit next to me on the 29 with his rape porn videos on his phone. I got up and told the whole bus what he was doing and called him a creepy f***** and jeered him off the bus. Reported it too but was told there was nothing they could do. Should I have just sat there feeling intimidated? Maybe... but I think calling it out was the best thing... certainly made me feel better.
So sorry to hear this, Jess. I always think of the poor young woman who was killed in the park a couple of years ago on her way home. It shouldn't have to be like this but my advice is this, your aluminium water bottle can be a good weapon of choice (make sure it's half empty as easier to hold/handle) with a good crack on the skull, or carry a sharp pencil with you - you know what to do if someone tries to assault you.
Very sorry to hear about this happening, that too in daylight, Jess. Good thinking on your part!
Yes of course it might be someone who doesn't realise it's inappropriate and certainly there's someone like that who regularly stands on Alroy Road. But I daresay it's not worth the risk trying to figure that out for oneself in the heat of the moment.
When I've noticed such a situation more than once I've stopped to have a quick chat with the woman in question - which I recognise can be intimidating in itself, though I don't believe I give out the creepy vibe. That seems to do the trick.
I've been physically assaulted from behind without warning or provocation myself and have a certain appreciation for that feeling of being followed, even as someone not exactly lacking in height, weight or self-confidence.
Yes there are a number of things one can reasonably be found in possession of without provable intent to cause harm such as screwdrivers, corkscrews, bottles, scissors et al but I will go out on a limb and say avoiding confrontation entirely with someone likely to have different boundaries when it comes to causing bodily harm is the safest strategy.
One thing I do is pretend to make a call as if I'm (loudly and happily) speaking to a group of friends who I'm just about to meet around the corner... Though even being seen making a call can be risky.
Hope I don't sound too alarmist!
Finsbury Park became a lot nicer during Covid and I really hope your experience was a one-off and one that doesn't haunt you for too long.
I am sure you can load a Siren sound effect onto mobiles. Seems as have herd others standing with a mobile with music and other effects
Also worth remembering is that most Knives etc carried for defence are mostly used against carrier
Especially if they wear heavy coats etc
The old favorite is cheapest small hair spray. I had a issue with a guy who thought it was funny to keep bothering me. I gave him a squirt of Foam String. Not seen Him Since
But as well aware there are more Out than In , with Metal issues. As during my time in Finsbury Park we had a Hostel near to the park and several used to come over and sit in park
Over the years go to know most of them and staff. And had a contact number if aware of any that was having issues
Do believe that Parks should have patrolling Rangers. Accept that in my Day's of Park Keepers some, small parks / greens, only had one keeper. But We did have a support Dog Unit
Plus Radio's that connected to Council Staff radio system
Nobody should be arming themselves with screwdrivers or scissors to feel safe. As women assertiveness is our best and most reliable weapon. These men rely on our fear and use it against us.
Lauren maybe it wasn't clear but my point was to advise against attempting carrying anything of the sort.
Also I didn't intend to bring gender into it. I'm a man and also concerned about being assaulted. It's far less likely to be sexual and likely to be very violent. Women unfortunately have to contend with the likelihood of both.
The other point I was making is that assertiveness isn't really of much use against a determined and / or desperate assailant, and likely to be counterproductive.
Once again, I say this regardless of the gender of either party, while recognising that most attackers of any sort are male. Not at all suggesting how a woman should or shouldn't behave.
Assertiveness (very different to aggression or confrontation).
Different from aggression for sure. Which is why I didn't use that word.
But what a reasonable person might consider assertive might be considered an confrontation by someone who thinks it's OK to follow someone...
Anyway I'm just sharing my perspective... Not really a prescription :)