“You’re like all the other girls in Baton Rouge.”

There are countless interpretations in regards to this title.

Something happened to me a few months ago that I can’t seem to forget. I parked my car at City Park near Dalrymple Drive and Perkins Road, changed into running clothes at the tennis court bathrooms, approached the pedestrian crosswalk, felt a strange sense of anxiety and brushed it off immediately.

The thing about running is — from personal experience and from what others have told me — you lose yourself. Your senses become heightened while your surroundings simultaneously fade once you hit that “runner’s high.” Add some music and you’re down for the count when it comes to being hyper-aware. I’m guilty of this, and I try to stay congnizant when I’m running the lakes, the LSU campus, or even on the treadmill at the gym.

Back to my story. That anxious feeling I had turned into paranoia when I realized someone was watching me. He was sitting in his truck waiting for me to make my way to my car. He quickly got out of his truck and attempted to start a conversation with me.

Him: “Miss, can I give you a compliment?”

Me: “Sorry, I’m leaving.”

Him: “You’re beautiful. Where are you from?”

Me: “I really have to go.”

Him: “What are you doing here?”

Me: Crickets…

Him: “Are you married?”

I decided to stick my headphones in and avoid the situation. I quickly realized that he wasn’t going to let up. He followed me on foot then hopped back into his truck and started following my trail down Perkins Road. I turned, drove a few backroads and eventually lost him. A few nights later, I had a dream that he followed me after dinner with my girlfriends and jumped into the backseat of my car as I was attempting to lock it.

(End of Saga I)

Tonight:

I had to get gas before I made the trip back home to MS. I stopped at a gas station near the interstate and as I was pumping gas, I felt the same feeling as before. As luck would have it, the same man approached me.

Him: “You are a beautiful woman. Where are you from?”

Me: “Not from here.”

Him: “What are you doing here?”

Me: “School.”

Him: “I can tell…you’re not interested in me.”

Me: “I have a boyfriend.”

Him: “You’re like all the other girls in Baton Rouge.”

Me: Well, I had no words. He walked away, infuriated with me it seemed.

(End of Saga II)

Here are my issues with both scenarios. I am a young female living in a larger city (crime-filled, might I add). I feel vulnerable when I’m by myself 9 times out of 10. I like to consider myself independent, so I’m alone often. These two instances involving the same individual have creeped me out more than anything else combined. He asked me the same questions in the same format on two sporadic occassions.

Crime happens everywhere. Anyone can be affected. I’m well aware that these scenarios seem trivial in comparison to most. The reality is that being aware isn’t enough. As young women, we have to be prepared to protect ourselves if necessary. I’m not sure if my mace mill be the answer, but it’s something. I’m contemplating self-defense classes as well.

I want to know your thoughts/suggestions. Do you ever feel vulnerable or at risk in Baton Rouge or any other city?

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12 thoughts on ““You’re like all the other girls in Baton Rouge.”

  1. I often get this feeling because I love running in the dark. Its just my thing. Which is like calling danger, so I rarely do it. However, I feel this way anytime I have to be “out” at night. I refuse to even get gas at night because I have had questionable people approach me as I pump gas into my car. But I agree, as young women we need to know how to protect ourselves. I have looked into many self-defense classes, and one day when I have the time, I am going to make the commitment to learn to defend myself. As always, I love your posts.

  2. “RAD (Rape Aggression Defense Systems) – 12-Hour Self-Defense Program for Women

    Classes will be held Friday, February 3, 6-9 pm; Saturday, February 4, 9 am-12 pm and 1-4 pm; and Sunday, February 5, 1-4 pm. All sessions are in the Nelson Memorial Building, located on the south side of the John M. Parker Coliseum.

    – $25 for LSU, Southern and BRCC students, faculty and staff
    – $45 for the general public.

    The RAD lifetime return and practice policy allows you to come back and practice your skills to perfection (no cost).

    Sponsored by the LSU Office of Health Promotion and LSU Police Departments.

    For more information or to register call the Office of Health Promotion at 578-5718 or e-mail healthpromotion@lsu.edu

    I’ve never been able to make this, but I do know a friend that took it, and felt a little more at ease. For the cost and what you’re learning she said it was a great investment!

  3. Hey Erin, I know we don’t know each other well, but I grew up in Baton Rouge and half my family and friends went to LSU. My sister recently graduated from there. I love Baton Rouge with everything in me, but larger cities, especially BR post-Katrina, bring out the strange. We’ve had multiple friends stalked by men, even to the point of having to move apartments and stay away from certain areas because of intense situations. I don’t mean to scare you, but when this came up on my news feed I couldn’t help but chime in. Please be careful, and report situations when they happen, especially if you’ve met this guy on multiple occasions. Don’t hesitate to call the police if you’re feeling weird about a situation. Have people run with you or run near people. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, but just be careful!

    • Thanks for sharing Hallie. I know that Baton Rouge isn’t the only city with these issues, but I agree that it’s prevalent here. I will absolutely be on the look out, and I like to think I’m constantly aware of where I am and who is around me. I appreciate your advice!

  4. I had the exact same thing happen when I was in Baton Rouge. Same scenario, same conversation. I honestly think you should report it. If it has happened to you twice at random and to me once two years ago, it’s probably happened to multiple other girls in the same area. When it comes to running, I almost always have mace on me when I run alone. I’m also one who loves to run at night, but I don’t do it unless I have a guy with me (which sucks when you really enjoy running alone). I think you should report it, go to a few self defense classes, get some mace and run like hell if you ever need to. ❤

    • Wow. It terrifies me that this happened to you so long ago in a similar scenario. I’ll be keeping my eyes open…since I know exactly what he drives and what he looks like. Thanks for the advice, Bonnie. I’ll definitely run like hell ha ha.

  5. Thanks for sharing!

    First, I would say, report this guy to the police, especially if he has approached you twice. Sounds like he could do the same to other women and there have been “serial” cases of crime against women in BR. You could potentially save someone’s life by reporting him early and if you remember what he looks like get a sketch artist at the police station to do a drawing. You might feel like you’re overreacting by doing that but seriously, don’t wait to do it. Bring your boyfriend with you to the station for support.

    I completely understand, I lived in BR for 4 years when I was at lsu and knew that i needed to be cautious all the time. A lot of people laughed at me for being so cautious but honestly, you really never know who’s watching. If you live in a house, I would tell your neighbors of what happened and what cars you and your roommates drive so they can keep a look-out for you knowing that you’re an unmarried girl. I found out that I actually lived across the street from an ex-CIA agent who kept security cameras on the outside of his house . . . haha needless to say,
    I felt so much safer know he was there.

    I never went running alone, I always had mace, I considered getting a concealed weapon license and taking a self-defense class. And another thing, when I do go out alone or go shopping, I let people know that I am aware they are around me, especially men. In the times when it could have turned into a problem, i turned into a complete bitch and that really scared the men off. I think that if they know you have no problem reporting them to the police immediately, they probably won’t even try.

    • Thank you, thank you for the advice. I absolutely let me family/friends know where I am and give them a general idea of what times I will be there. I’ll be taking your advice and being more wary. I hate to say that I’m naive, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt in most cases. This has been a contributing factor in my recent change of mindset.

  6. Like you, I feel this way when alone 9 times out of 10. However, this episode that occurred TWICE…not okay. You need to keep a serious guard up, especially running and situations like that where you are alone and possibly away from other people and communication tools…like a car to flee! I think you need to run with mace for a while.

    • That’s what scares me the most. How many women has he approached and how many have “taken the bait?” Mace is my best friend at this point. I just hope the wind is blowing in the opposite direction.

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