Increasing fear going out and about as a woman

John Swanson | Photo Courtesy
Pathlight is an app which acts as a virtual safety escort.

Being aware of what is going on around you

It is getting scarier and scarier to go out and about, especially as a woman. These past few weeks, I have seen Facebook posts and news articles involving incidents that have happened to women in Fargo. 

While scrolling through Facebook and looking at Snapchat stories, one Snapchat story specifically caught my eye. It was a screenshot from a Facebook post and stated, “Last night, my sister’s best friend walked out of Red Lobster and as she was approaching her car, a man came up to her and grabbed her by the arm. She managed to wrench her arm away and jump in her car. She locked the door and so he stood behind her car so she couldn’t back up.”

The post continued, “She finally put the car in reverse and began slowly backing up, only then did he move away. She was the second person at Red Lobster that it happened to. The same thing has been reported at Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble and a few gas stations. In Barnes and Noble, it was 4-5 men and a woman following someone.”

Although this source is not from the news, it is still extremely important to be aware of what is going on in our community. This could happen to anyone, whether you think it could happen to you or not. After hearing this story, I automatically sent it to my Fargo friends and then realized neither I nor my friends should go anywhere alone in Fargo. 

From Valley News Live, there was a story about a woman who was driving home from Fargo to Manhomen. While this woman was driving home, she spotted a box of kittens on the side of the road. She began to think about the kittens and if she could bring them home, she then checked her surroundings and pulled over to check on the kittens.

Out of nowhere, in the pitch dark, a car pulled up behind her. A man got out of the car and asked, “What’s going on?” He proceeded by asking the woman what she was up to tonight. When the man said this, she ran to her car, jumped in and drove away as fast as she could. 

When the woman started driving, she checked behind her to see if he was following her, he was not. Valley News Live ended this story with the woman saying, “Even if what happened to her turns out to be nothing, she urges women in the Valley to think twice and listen to their instincts.” 

By being informed of these two stories, I hope you understand to be aware of your surroundings. There are many creepy people out there, whether or not you want to believe that it can happen in our city of Fargo, it really can. There are many more ways to be prepared when going out. 

Never go alone. Whether it is you or your friend going to the mall, make someone go with you. 

Don’t be on your phone. If you are sitting in your car in a parking lot, don’t go on your phone; the same goes for when you are walking through a store or in the parking lot. Be aware of what is going on around you. You will not be aware of your surroundings if you are on your phone. 

Park as close to the entrance door as possible. Although you may want to get some extra steps in, it’s really not worth it. You are less likely to have a sketchy situation happen to you and there are so many more people and staff around if something bad happens. 

You don’t feel comfortable walking to your car after shopping? That is totally okay, ask an employee to walk you to your car. OR get on the phone and call a friend before you leave the store. Therefore, if something does happen, they will be able to get help to you. 

Tell someone where you are going. If you feel the urge to go somewhere alone, please, I beg you, let a friend or family member know. And then tell them what time you plan on being back. Those who are close to you love you, communicate. 

Buy the pepper spray and noise alarm. You never know when you will need it. 

Oh, something looks suspicious is on your car? Such as your windshield wipers being zip-tied? Do not investigate those windshield wipers, wait until you are in a safe place. There are people waiting for you to fix your windshield wipers so they can come by and grab you. 

There are so many spooky things happening in our community. Be aware and be prepared. Be safe Bison.

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