Feeling unsafe and followed is a common experience that many people face in their daily lives. Whether walking home at night or simply going about their business, the feeling of being watched or pursued can be incredibly disturbing and cause significant distress. This experience is not limited to any particular demographic, as anyone can find themselves in a situation where they feel unsafe and followed.

This is a crucial topic, and recently a TikToker shared with the audience her experience and a tip that made her feel safer.

After a recent encounter, a young woman shared her story on TikTok and advice for the viewers

Image credits: James Petts (not the actual photo)

She specifically saw that a stranger was waiting for her to return home so he could identify her location

Image credits: heyitsmaryalice

“When you go home at night, don’t turn your lights on immediately after you get in your apartment”

“Especially if people can see the windows of your apartment from the street. Because if someone’s following you home, they’re gonna know what apartment you live in.

When I got home tonight, I got out of my car, and there was a man getting s**t out of his car. I had never seen him before this morning when he was in my apartment complex area.”

Image credits: heyitsmaryalice

“And he just gave me bad vibes for whatever”

“I got out of my car at night. And he tries to make conversation with me about my headlight because it’s out right now. I go ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, I just have to get around to it.’ Whatever.”

Woman On Tik Tok Goes Viral With 20M Views For Explaining Why People Living Alone Shouldn't Turn Lights On Right Away After Coming Home

Image credits: heyitsmaryalice

“I go inside. Don’t turn the lights on. But I have a feeling to check my ring camera”

“He’s standing in the street, which is very close to my apartment building, staring at my building. And he did not leave for like five minutes. Halfway through, he left the empty parking spot and hid behind a car. But he waited to see.

So now he knows what car I drive and where I live, just not my apartment. So don’t turn your lights on.”

Image credits: heyitsmaryalice

The creator of this video is a musician and songwriter with over 80k followers on TikTok who goes by the username @heyitsmaryalice. She frequently shares personal experiences with her fans on TikTok. Additionally, following her viral video, she has posted a couple videos about the incident and some safety advice.

In just 6 days, the video went viral and had 20M views and nearly 15k comments. The audience shared their tips and recommendations, some personal stories regarding encounters with strangers, feeling unsafe or being followed in the comment section.

The viewers united and thanked the creator for sharing her story, safety advice and showed support. One woman shared her safety suggestions, and it is scary to think about what people need to do just to feel safer – under the video she left a comment that every day she takes a different route home and even puts a pair of used men’s shoes at the door. A few other women added that they never even turn their lights off. Additionally, almost everybody in the comments agreed that if you have an instinct that something is not right, that is usually the case. Always trust your gut.

For context, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men had experienced stalking at some point in their lives. Nearly 54% of female victims and 41% of male victims had stalking experience prior to the age of 25, and research has shown that stalking can cause depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. These numbers are quite alarming, and stories like this one help people feel less alone who have experienced similar situations and the advice may help to avoid terrible incidents.

Moreover, the internet offers an increasing number of possibilities to enhance one’s personal safety and evade unwanted attention, particularly if one is being pursued by an individual or group. Additionally, there are many various new tools for keeping your house more secure (special door blockers, smart locks, video doorbells and phone apps) and, of course, it is very important to invest in good home security. Nevertheless, very well known things which you must not forget to do, according to the safewise website, are to stay calm, because it may help to think things through, mix things up, or, to be more precise, take a wrong turn or head in a different route. Go to busy restaurants, crowded shops, or a parking lot if you are traveling by car.

Image credits: daniellehelm (not the actual photo)

Bored Panda reached out to the retired detective Michael Arterburn, who goes under the nickname purepower34, for an interview regarding similar situations and safety advice.

“Stalking was always a frustrating case, because you are almost waiting for something bad to happen before the police can do something significant. They can also be difficult to prove. Luckily, the younger generation is more keen on using their phone to record evidence,” elaborated Arterburn.

The former detective advises having a self-defense tool in your hand and calling 911 if a stranger has followed you home. “The police’s job is to investigate, and from a retired officer, we never mind going on a call like this just to see what’s going on.”

Additionally, he shared some of his recommendations regarding safety tools. First and foremost is the pepper gel to have in hand. Motion lights and doorbell cameras are great for improving home security without cost. “For apartments, especially ones with sliding glass doors, lay a dowel rod cut for the length of the track to reinforce the door from silently being opened.” He also added that nothing can guarantee that someone can’t just force their way in, so all you can do is to prevent them from entering silently and waking up to a stranger standing over you.

Furthermore, he made a video on TikTok with simple cost-effective devices from Amazon, so don’t forget to check it out.

Stay safe, folks!

You can check out the whole video below:

In the comments people shared various safety advice and supported the creator

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