Dear Annie: Your answer to “Tired of Being Scared at Work and at Home” didn’t address the possibility that her co-worker may be on the autism spectrum and thus be unaware of the inappropriateness of his actions, such as standing too close and staring. She should contact the company’s HR department, so his behavior can be noted and corrected. He may be a scary creep, but I think it will be easier for her to discuss this with HR if she questions whether he is exhibiting behavior of a neurodivergent condition. Either way, it needs to stop. I do sympathize with her fears. Young women are often the target of unwanted attention. Best wishes to her. – Another Possible Interpretation
Dear Annie: You gave good advice to “Tired,” but there’s one thing she must do: Tell the man to stop standing so close and to stop staring. She must use her voice, starting a sentence with “I need you to…” or “Stop…” Don’t use the word “please.”
Predators LOVE silent victims! In fact, they test to see how far they can go without the victim protesting. Speaking up SOONER rather than later is a very good strategy.
Telling her boss and HR is good advice. She needs to start a record of his behavior at work since he’s creating “a hostile work environment.” HR will understand those words.
She can also fix her windows at her own expense and deduct it from the rent (in the U.S.).
Finally, I recommend she call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. It’s not technically DV, but these folks are trained to know what tactics wannabe abusers use, the likelihood his actions will escalate and advice on what to do about it. They’re better experts than the average cop on this topic. Young women shouldn’t have to deal with this stuff, but a lot of us have. I wish her well. – Hope This Helps
Dear Annie: This poor woman is being stalked. And yes there have been actions that absolutely CAN BE reported not only to this woman’s boss but to the police!
I had been stalked, and eventually attacked with a knife by a paranoid schizophrenic woman. I am a woman, and this happened to me almost 40 years ago. My case was one of many that caused my state to institute the stalking laws now in effect.
She should definitely fix her windows and even put screws into them, making them unable to be opened at all. Then she could start martial arts classes, which I took and then became an instructor, teaching women and children how to stay safe for 15 years.
She also, if she can find the nerve, needs to confront her stalker. Go right up to him and call him out.
“Stop staring at me. Is there something you need?”
You were right about telling others, but she needs to find her voice.
These types of predators depend upon one thing: their victims being intimidated and thus being silenced. He has already tested this by intruding on her personal space, and she has remained silent.
He already knows she will be more quiet than not if attacked/grabbed.
It’s not that she is weak or wrong. We are raised to be kind, nice and polite. I had to learn, in martial arts, to find my voice and my assertiveness. It’s not aggression. It’s protecting one’s space.
This woman is already developing emotional trauma because of this situation, and she needs to take back her power.
I recognize what is happening to her, and my stalker kept contacting me time and again for over 20 years until I was told by police she had passed away. I never, ever wish anyone to die. But that day I felt a relief and I can now, finally answer the phone without fear.
Thanks for listening. You do good work. – Sending Blessings
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