Tense video shows a woman filming herself after sensing a man following her. She was right.
“See this gentleman behind me? Yeah, this is what this video’s about.”
It’s no secret that even the most seemingly safe of public places can instantly turn dangerous for a woman. Is it fair? No. But is it common? Absolutely, to the point where more and more women are documenting moments of being stalked or harassed as a grim reminder to be aware of one’s surroundings.
Lacie (@lacie_kraatz) is one of those women. On April 11th, she was out on a run when she noticed a man in front of her displaying suspicious behavior. Things got especially dicey when the man somehow got behind her. That’s when she pulled out her phone and started filming—partially to prove that it wasn’t just her imagination, and also out of fear for her safety.
“Hello. I’m just making this video so that women are a little more aware of them,” she begins in the video. “See this gentleman behind me? Yeah, this is what this video’s about.”
According to Lacie, the two were initially running in opposite directions. But at some point after seeing her, the man stopped in the middle of the trail and waited for her to pass so that he could follow her path from behind.
“Now, I know what you’re thinking—‘Why are you suspecting that he’s following you?'” Lacie continues. “Well, let me tell you. I was just walking like this, and I look up, and he’s in front of me, and he just keeps doing a ‘peek’ like this behind him, over and over again.”
Lacie added that at one point, she even made an illegal crossing when “do not walk” sign was still up in an attempt to put some distance between herself and the man. After looking over her shoulder, she noticed that the man was visibly “speeding” to keep up.
In case there is still any doubt, Lacie then begins to run to see if the man will follow suit. Sure enough, he does.
Luckily the man eventually seems to give up, though he still seems to be watching her from a distance. Lacie ends up safe back home, but she didn't even accomplish what she set out to do that afternoon.
“I couldn’t even finish my run,” she concludes. “I only ran like a mile and a half. I wanted to do 3 miles, but no—creepy men just had to be creepy f****** men today.”
Countless women empathized with Lacie in the comments section. Clearly, this was not a unique circumstance.
“What I do when I’m being followed is act feral,” yet another person shared. “Like I’ll bark and growl really loud and flail my arms around. If you look crazy, you're doin' it right.”
Another added, “Man, nothing pisses me off more than men who make me feel uncomfortable doing things that I NEED to do for my health and well-being.”
Others tried to give their own tips for handling the situation, from finding nearby police or fire stations to using a variety of running trails to simply notifying the first visible passerby of what’s happening and asking to stand with them.
And of course, the resounding advice was to use the public space, and modern-day technology, to one’s advantage.
As one person wrote, “Girls we have got to normalize turning around and yelling at people following us. Let them know you know, take pictures of them, scream, make a scene."
It’d be nice if these kinds of unsettling interactions didn’t exist. But here we are. At the very least, it’s good that women are speaking up more so that these situations are easier to spot early on and women can know how to navigate them in the safest way possible.