“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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