17 Feb Keeping Safe Against Unwanted Attention
As a Hollywood actress, what makes you a safety expert?
I was just like the thousands of hopefuls that come to Hollywood each year with dreams of stardom in my eyes. I’ve now been an actress for over 22 years. And during this time I’ve experienced both wanted and unwanted attention. I’m not famous. I’m not a Jennifer Lawrence or Angelina Jolie. But, I do earn my living in the public eye. As a result, I’ve had a few situations where people have behaved inappropriately towards me. Usually, they believe they will have a relationship with me. When this doesn’t happen, they have retaliated in the most unlikely ways. I’ve had to go to criminal court against a stalker. And I discovered, for the average woman, there is little guidance available for what you should do if a random, potentially dangerous person decides that you are his reason for living. I also found out that if this can happen to me, it can happen to just about anyone.
In the process of protecting my own information, I realized how much personal information is readily available to almost anyone. Online, a staggering amount of your personal information is available to just about anyone. And, with social media, the average person puts out as much personal information about themselves, or more, as I did as an actor. Online safety and keeping your information safe in cyberspace is definitely a hot topic today.
In a nutshell, limit the amount of personal information you put on social media websites. Never post your home address, name of the school your children attend or their full names. Also, take the time to be fully aware of each website’s privacy features. This only takes a few minutes and is well worth it. And remember, what you post will be up there forever. So be careful; it may come back to haunt you in the most unexpected ways.
SAFETY ON CAMPUS
I recently read an article by Camille Paglia. She believes universities and college campuses should be less concerned with political correctness and more concerned with teaching our young women about predator danger. In other words, don’t worry about being “nice, sweet and kind” like we are often taught as girls. Instead, we need to give young women the tools they will need in the face of someone who is behaving inappropriately towards them. I always say that it is not “if” someone will behave inappropriately towards you, it is “when”.
We need to educate young women entering their freshman year of college about dorm room safety, campus safety and travel safety.
What is one safety tip you’d want our readers to take away from this article?
Remember, if someone is behaving inappropriately towards you, don’t let him have control. Remember to listen to your gut instinct or your sixth sense. Some may call it women’s intuition. We have it for a reason. If someone seems weird, they usually are. If they seem to want something from you, they probably do. Don’t second guess yourself. It is really that simple.
NICE, KIND, SWEET
I don’t think having good manners is a detriment. However, I do believe there is a time for courtesy bias and a time to take a stronger stance. As young women, we are often taught to be nice, kind and sweet. We learn to be accommodating. Polite is good; impolite is bad. We don’t want to refuse the guy who wants our number, even though we’re not interested. We don’t want to appear rude, snobby or stuck up. We need to learn how to react properly in an uncomfortable situation and we need to always consider other people’s underlying motives.
NIGHT TIME SAFETY
I have very easy, simple safety tips that will not curb your fun or excitement at night. Stay in your group and don’t go off by yourself. Tell someone where you are going that night, whether it is a friend or family member. Charge your cell phone to 100% and keep a charge cord with you in your purse. Always carry cash. Don’t go off with strangers you meet that night. And don’t drink too much that it will impair your judgment.
Gavin De Becker who wrote “The Gift of Fear”, the LAPD Threat Management Unit and the Los Angeles DA, Rhonda Saunders.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I would ideally like to be speaking to universities and college campuses about safety. Topics would include dating, travel, online safety, travel safety, campus life and safety in the workplace.