Red Flags :
*Won’t take “No” for an answer. Disregards personal boundaries, big or small. Unwanted touching. Weasels way into conversation.
* Hovers around and lingers long after it is socially comfortable to do so. Is persistent even after they wear out welcome.
*Seeks to isolate you from other people even after just meeting them. They may seek out vulnerable or alone people.
*Has general anger issues, bad temper that is set off often and easily.
*Has controlling behavior or seeks to control you. Is possessive or jealous. May guilt trip or gaslight you to create and maintain control. Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that is used to convince people that their memory or perception of events is false.
How to stay safe!
None of the things listed below are fail safes, but they are great ways to help keep safe in social or personal situations.
*Buddy system! When you go to an event of any kind it’s always a good idea to bring a friend or multiple friends with you. This way everyone can help keep an eye on each other, including drinks and people who might be unnecessarily hovering around. Predators may seek an opening to drug your drink. Your drink should NEVER be unattended, if you forget your drink or it has been left alone for any period of time dump it out and get a new one. Never accept a drink from anyone other than a bartender or bar staff member. If someone wants to get your attention by buying you a drink, they can order it from the bartender and have it brought to you.
How do you know if you or a friend has been drugged? If you or a friend has had their drink unknowingly spiked you will exhibit slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, feeling drunk after only one drink, lowered inhibitions, and memory loss. As you can tell from this list, the symptoms of someone drugging you can be very similar to being very drunk. Having people around you who know and understand your normal behavior during a night out can be essential to picking up on odd and concerning behaviors. I encourage you to look at this website for more information on the different types of drugs that can be used as well as a more detailed list of symptoms that may occur. https://www.healthline.com/health/date-rape-drugs
If you suspect that yourself or a friend may have been drugged, leave immediately and have someone you trust take you to the ER. Depending on the dose, things can go from concerning to scary very quickly. If you do need to take the step to leave be aware of who is around you and who may be following you and/or the intended victim after you leave.
The more friends you have around you, the less likely you are to be approached by a sexual predator. They want an easier prey to take advantage of. If you are surrounded by your people, the chances of them being detected are greatly increased and they will most likely move on to find an easier target.
Along these lines, what should you do if you are out at a social event, festival, concert or bar and you notice that someone is in a dangerous situation? Perhaps you notice that someone seems really out of it and appears to be getting taken advantage of, or maybe someone is attempting to force the overly inebriated person to exit the premises.
If there is security or a bartender available, they are a good place to start. Tell someone who is there in some sort official capacity to voice your concerns to immediately. These people are trained to help extract potential victims from dangerous situations and get to the bottom of any harmful behavior that might be happening. Depending on the situation and your comfort level, you can also personally interject yourself into the situation and ask if the inebriated person is ok, if they need help, do they know the person they are with, etc. Please be very careful if you choose to interject yourself into a situation like this. You could also be placing yourself in danger. As I mentioned before, if you have the option to alert security or a staff member, please do that first.
*If you are meeting up with someone for a date that you briefly met or perhaps met online, make sure to arrive separately at a public place. Let at least one friend or family member know where you are going, what time, the basic information about the person and an agreed upon check in time to see how things went.
*When meeting new people, use discretion on what personal information you share. Keep specifics about where you live and your daily routine to a minimum.
*Know your exits. Seriously. Know how to make a quick exit from situation or person if you feel in danger or if someone is giving you the heebie jeebies!
*Be aware of disrespect of your personal boundaries. If someone will not respect your boundaries in small ways, chances are they won’t respect them in bigger ones.