LIFE IS NORMAL… this is my general expectation.
Except recently, a couple of things have happened that jolted my awareness from the picture-perfect, super-safe invincibubble in which I live.
A few days ago, I learned that my friend and awesome literary agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg (aka Agent P), was attacked in her car by a spurned author. He’d apparently located her using her social media check-ins, and thought, “Hmm, maybe if I beat the crap out of her, she’ll reconsider representing me.” Logic… I’m guessing not his strong suit. ***Here’s the link on how her dog helped save her if you want to read more: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/09/most-y-books-bought-adults-agent-allegedly-attacked-spurned-author/56875/
(Let me add – Pam is one of the nicest, funniest, most thoughtful people on the planet. Not that anyone deserves a smackdown like that, but if anyone did, it really REALLY wouldn’t be her.)
So, this awful event comes on the heels of a slightly-less-awful-yet-still-alarming episode where my kids got accosted in a local restaurant by a strange guy. He must have thought they were cute (yes, they are) and decided it would be fine for him to get up in their space and put his hands on them. Fortunately, hubs and I were there to bring our own parental smackdown, but it was still a little disturbing.
Thus bringing me to the point: Just because things should happen a certain way, doesn’t mean they do. People shouldn’t get stalked through their status updates on social media. Kids shouldn’t get groped in restaurants by random idiots with poor ego boundaries.
But it happens, so what do you do?
FIRST: Be vigilant. We’d like to think folks are going to honor the trust we demonstrate using social media, and most of them will. But some won’t. I’m not saying you shouldn’t participate, just watch your back. And when possible, bring your attack dog with you (Smart thinking, Agent P!).
SECOND: If someone messes with you… MAKE NOISE!
“I don’t know you!” “You’re making me uncomfortable!” “Leave me alone!”
Any of these, said VERY LOUDLY will draw attention to you. And if there’s one thing an aggressor doesn’t want, it’s attention. Abusers rely on your silence… Don’t give it to them.
THIRD: If, God forbid, someone does try to take you against your will… FIGHT!!! Fight while you’re still in public! Fight while the attacker’s unprepared for it! Kick, bite, thrash, scream, and don’t stop! There’s a certain amount of “This can’t be happening!” that goes through a victims’ head. We get so attached to our expectation of normalcy that we don’t see the danger right in front of us. But let me tell you, it’s WAY better to make a scene now and deal with it later, than to end up in someone random guy’s basement eating your fingernails for breakfast.
Obviously, there’s tons more I could go off about, but I won’t. Just remember, keep your eyes open, and don’t be afraid to make NOISE!!! Whether it’s a stranger in a parking lot, an internet acquaintance, or even a guy your friend introduced you to at a party. If he messes with you… MAKE A SCENE!!!
(That goes for the dog, too!)