A number of you wrote in response to the 26-year-old woman who was struggling with how to handle a co-worker she suspects of stalking her. Below are some of your helpful insights.
Dear Annie: Your answer” didn’t address the possibility that her co-worker may be on the autism spectrum and thus be unaware of the inappropriateness of his actions, such as standing too close and staring. She should contact the company’s HR department, so his behavior can be noted and corrected. He may be a scary creep, but I think it will be easier for her to discuss this with HR if she questions whether he is exhibiting behavior of a neurodivergent condition. Either way, it needs to stop. I do sympathize with her fears. Young women are often the target of unwanted attention.
— Another Possible Interpretation
Dear Annie: You gave good advice to “Tired,” but there’s one thing she must do: Tell the man to stop standing so close and to stop staring. She must use her voice, starting a sentence with “I need you to...” or “Stop...” Don’t use the word “please.”
Predators love silent victims! In fact, they test to see how far they can go without the victim protesting. Speaking up sooner than later is a very good strategy.
Telling her boss and HR is good advice. She needs to start a record of his behavior at work since he’s creating “a hostile work environment.” HR will understand those words.
She can also fix her windows at her own expense and deduct it from the rent (in the U.S.).
Finally, I recommend she call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. It’s not technically DV, but these folks are trained to know what tactics wannabe abusers use, the likelihood his actions will escalate and advice on what to do about it.
— Hope This Helps
Dear Annie: I had been stalked, and eventually attacked with a knife by a paranoid schizophrenic woman. I am a woman, and this happened to me almost 40 years ago. My case was one of many that caused my state to institute the stalking laws now in effect.
She should definitely fix her windows and even put screws into them, making them unable to be opened at all. Then she could start martial arts classes, which I took and then became an instructor, teaching women and children how to stay safe for 15 years.
She also, if she can find the nerve, needs to confront her stalker. Go right up to him and call him out. “Stop staring at me. Is there something you need?” Be vocal. She needs to find her voice.
I had to learn, in martial arts, to find my voice and my assertiveness. It’s not aggression. It’s protecting one’s space.
— Sending Blessings
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