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Ladies Beware of Predators. They’re Everywhere.


DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN, LADIES. There are a lot of crazies out there, men with dark twisted motives who mean to harm us. I encountered one last week, as did my friend, Tammy. You may remember my blog about her and her son who’s been in intensive care since December 4th.

As if she’s not dealing with enough life and death drama, now she has a stalker.

For the last two months, Tammy’s been staying in her son’s ICU room, snatching bits and pieces of sleep on a small cot in his hospital room. Tammy is a woman of great faith, but even with God’s help, I’m amazed she hasn’t collapsed from stress, a serious lack of sleep, and hot nutritious food.

She keeps a room at one of those “home away from home” places that have a kitchenette. Last week, she hired a private duty nurse to stay with her son so she could return to the hotel and get a hot shower and a good night’s sleep. She’d stopped at Walmart, late, then returned to her room. When she climbed into bed, it was 1:00 am, and being long-term exhausted, she went to sleep almost immediately. Ten minutes later, she was awakened by knocking at her door.

When she looked through the peephole, a man dressed in all black and wearing a black baseball cap was standing on the other side of her door.  His head was down so she couldn’t see his face.

“Who is it,” she asked.

“Janitor,” the man said.

She moved away from the door, but he kept knocking. Thankfully she’d locked the deadbolt in her door. She was scared and disoriented from lack of sleep, so she called her husband. A few minutes later she called the police, but by then he was gone.

Later, she viewed the security footage from the hotel’s video camera. The man entered the building—the hotel doesn’t have a card lock on the external doors to the hallway—and made a beeline for her door. He knew exactly which room he wanted. He was in black from head to toe and wearing combat boots. The police believe he’d followed her and was watching her, waiting until she turned out her light. Tammy said it was surreal, watching him on the video, knowing it could have been a horrific event if she had been disoriented enough to open her door.

The thought that someone might have been stalking and watching her is terrifying, but that could have been any one of us.

One in five women in her lifetime will be sexually assaulted, and that doesn’t count the wackos who might kill us like the alleged freak in Montana who stabbed four university students in their beds.

My encounter last week with a suspicious man unfolded in a very different way. I scheduled him to come to my home—via Home Advisor, formerly Angie’s List—and give me a bid on work I need done outside. He entered my yard through the side gate I’d opened for him, and within ten seconds of standing in my yard, away from the views of my neighbors, he asked if I was the only homeowner. 

“I don’t want to go through this again if there’s someone else I should talk to.” 

At best, it was a misogynistic thing to say, but when I said I was the homeowner, he replied with, “Oh, you live alone.” 

Before I could reply, he suggested we go inside so he could give me his “two-hour presentation” about the company and the work they would do in my yard. It’s a relatively small job. Not one that required a two-hour presentation. By then my alarms were going off, and I said, “This isn’t a good time.” 

Then he reached for my arm, but instead of pulling away from him, I pushed my hand and arm into him. “Shoved” is more like it… A defensive move I saw on TV years ago. A predator is expecting you to pull away from them, so they’ll automatically tighten their grip, but because he wasn’t expecting me to do the opposite, I caught him off guard and he let go of me. I turned and ran to the street in front of my house. I may have misread his intentions, but I don’t think so. 

If something seems off, don’t wait to see if everything’s okay, because it may be too late, and don’t be afraid of offending someone. You can always apologize later if everything’s on the up and up.

I told Tammy if I’d been in her position, I would have said, “If you don’t move away from my door, NOW, you’re going to get a 45-caliber bullet in your gut. You got that?” And make it sound like you mean it. Like you’re a 300-pound fullback, not a petite 110-pound woman. 

This is your life, ladies! React immediately, and don’t sound or act like you’re timid and scared.

Whether you’re at home or someplace you go frequently, BE AWARE of your surroundings AT ALL TIMES. It’s so easy to get complacent and assume we’re safe.

After what happened to Tammy and me, the next man who comes to my house, Angie’s List or not, I may meet him at the door with a pistol in my pocket.

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43 thoughts on “Ladies Beware of Predators. They’re Everywhere.”

  1. Excellent post and thank you for sharing your story, Tammy’s story and the story of countless unnamed women who never got a chance to tell their story. I have been lucky, but I know that it’s only partially luck. Your message to be aware and cognizant of your surroundings is a survivor message, any other advice would be a “potential victim” message. I’m not sure what a 45 caliber bullet looks like, but I’m going to remember to use that warning if I ever need it!

    • You’re right, Janet! My message is a survivor message because I have survived a great many things I shouldn’t have survived. Whatever you say to a predator, sound tough, like you mean it. Most of them want easy prey, but I will never go willingly for anyone ever again! Thanks for reading and leaving me this great message! Brenda

  2. Hope you called the police and reported that guy as he may have assaulted other women. My next thought is that the police possibly would not “do” anything about your complaint as “nothing” happened. Women are often disparaged and their concerns dismissed. You wonder if you could have misconstrued his intentions? Workmen DO NOT put their hands on you unless you are falling down with a heart attack. At best, he was being inappropriate with you, at worst….well your actions prevented you from becoming a victim.

    • Susan, You’re right. The police aren’t able to do anything at this stage. I did call his employer but they didn’t have a problem with anything he did!! They didn’t want to know… I was shocked by their response. I agree with you: A workman shouldn’t put their hands on you unless it’s an emergency. Thank you so much! Brenda

  3. It’s important to appear alert and aware of your surroundings. Besides being a danger to your physical health, texting or talking on the phone while walking, also signals to potential assailants that you are distracted and therefore vulnerable. You are walking to your car, keep your cell phone in your purse or pocket, look around and assess your environment. Have your key fob in hand and ready to open the door to your car. No fumbling around in your purse at the car door.

    • Spot on Dr. Bergin! This is almost word for word what I said to Tammy after she told me what happened. She scared me when she said she’d been talking on the phone with her husband and was still on the phone as she pulled up to where she was staying and as she got her things out of the backseat. She was a sitting duck!! Thanks for your wise words! xoxox, B

  4. Thank you for this reminder Brenda! It’s easy to get complacent, especially when we have our cellphones in our hands. I’m glad both you and Tammy are alright. This has given me the nudge I needed to pay more attention to where I am.

  5. Both of you are so lucky! I can’t imagine and Angies List? Wow! I’ve got my guard up now! Thank you for telling us Xo, Barb

  6. Thank you for sharing your stories. We all need to look out for each other and share these things. I hope the guy is caught. Your poor friend, she’s suffering from enough trauma. Please make sure she’s taking care of herself.

    • Thanks for your compassion and concern, Catherine! My friend and I are texting right now about this. She’s a pro at taking care of herself, but this is an added stress she doesn’t need. xoxox, Brenda

  7. Yes – Penelope – Gavin De Becker’s book is great. And I agree with Susan M – workmen do NOT put their hands on you unless to help you up or from falling. Everything I do around the house is always by word of mouth.
    I am glad you escaped, and this post was not about something worse. Thanks for the reminder Brenda!

    • You’re welcome, Gray, and I’m happy to be reminded of Gavin De Becker’s book. This was the first time I’ve had to cold call a service person because no one I know has had this done. I even called the woman who sold me my home, thinking she might have a reference, but she didn’t. So far, I haven’t found anyone, so I’m sitting tight. Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  8. This is truly scary and I echo everyone’s sentiments. Barbara’s so right about having our keys in our hands and staying off the phone. Your friend has been through enough. She didn’t need this and you… So much for vouching for workers on Angie’s List.

    • Thanks, Ann. Last week was definitely unsettling, but I’m grateful Tammy and I are okay. It could have been so much worse. This morning, the young woman who walks my dog had her own recent predator story. What the flip is happening to our world? xoxox, Brenda

  9. You have my attention. Angels were watching over both of you plus I know you’re smart. Thankfully neither one of you lost your cool and opened the door or went into your house. Into your own house! Oh, that scares me! Is it just me or has there been a cultural shift and the crazies think they have permission to do as they please? Rob, rape, murder.

    • Everything’s shifted, Connie! Everything! The crazies are out and the police can’t do anything about them until they actually do something to us, and their employers don’t seem to think it’s a problem. I called this guy’s employer. It’s all very alarming. Stay safe out there! xoxox, Brenda

  10. Good morning
    That was certainly upsetting/scary for Tammy/you. The guy was stupid in one sense for saying he is the janitor and coming at that time of the morning. Dead giveaway that he was not. To know which room to come to gives me the shivers.
    Yes so important to not sound or act like you’re timid or scared – tho of course one is. When I took a self defence course decades ago in college it was stressed – do NOT be nice – that person is out to get you. If on the street scream – draw attention to yourself – kick/fight – (they demonstrated various areas to hit/kick the person). Also, I always remember too seeing an Oprah episode which was about safety for women – again it was stressed the person is out to harm you – do NOT be nice – never ever get into their car – fall to the ground scream and kick. The detective on Oprah said women often don’t want to offend the person but your life/safety is at risk.
    Here in Canada guns are a bit foreign to us so I’m not sure how saying – bullet in your gut – would work. But that is definitely a good phrase to use in the USA.
    I screamed at a guy once on the bus when he tried to feel me up – What the hell do you think you are doing! He sure took off fast.
    This blog was a good remainder to be vigilant – have keys ready for car/house – assess your surroundings etc.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Rosemarie, All great reminders! Thank you! It may have been on Oprah that I learned not to pull away from an abductor but to lean into them. They’re not expecting that, and the wacko in my yard certainly wasn’t and he let go of me. Yes! Be vigilant at all times. Thanks so much, Brenda

  11. Gosh, Brenda, you have reminded me of some scary incidents from my past, and how they affected me. In my early 20’s I was in Toronto with a lot of solo time on the weekends due to my (former) husband’s internship at a hospital there.
    I was in a cinema watching an afternoon a movie when this guy sits next to me, although there were many vacant seats, and I feel his clammy hand creeping up my thigh.I jumped up ,dropping my popcorn, and yelled “get your hands off me”. He disappeared really fast, and no longer interested in any movie, I left after awhile and went straight home.
    I was rattled for sure, but kind of proud of myself too.
    After an unsettling relationship , in which the man I was with assaulted me twice, I ended it promptly, changed the locks and moved on. I spotted him outside my new apartment, got a letter from him sent to my new work place …letting me know he was aware of where I worked… and on two occasions , first following me in a grocery store , where I dropped my basket and left, and a year later following in his care, and parking next to me after I realized who was tailing me. Both chilling incidents and making me feel extremely vulnerable.
    At that time in Calgary (1994), too many women were being assaulted ( and murdered) by their partners and it took a new female police chief to change things dramatically.
    Your reminders are unfortunately relevant , Brenda. I have had a few solo trips abroad and am vigilant, not paranoid, but always aware. I walk with purpose, shoulders back and head up. I never walk with my phone taking my attention, or have earbuds in while walking. The waves or birdsong around me is what I wish to hear!
    I just subscribed and happy I did.

    • Catherine, I’m sorry you’ve had so many encounters with predators because they’re unsettling at best. You were lucky, as Tammy and I were, and you should be proud. We all should. We must keep our wits about us at all times. The earbud thing I don’t get at all, or this constant need to be checking our phones. Have a wonderful time on your trips abroad. I know you’ll be vigilant. I’m going to Italy in April, and like you, I’ll be on the lookout for creeps. xoxox, Brenda

    • BINGO!!! A girlfriend told me a story like that. Shocking, isn’t it? We want to believe that another woman will have our best interest at heart, and it sad and depressing to find out that’s not always true. Thanks Rosemarie! xoxox, B

  12. Many thanks for sharing these incidents with us. I’ll be honest, I am so tired of feeling preyed upon by men. I’ve had a couple incidents where men pointed a gun at me and I fled. All those times when you just want to walk a block in a big city at night, and “it’s not safe.” Years ago I was working in D.C. and was told not to walk the 4 blocks to Whole Foods alone. What freedom men have in not having to think about safety [unless entering the most dangerous spots].
    What the hell. It will never stop. Keep your radar on and be alert.

    • Good grief, Joan! Two different me have pointed guns at you! Woah! I’ve been in two situations where men got me down on the ground. One was trying to choke me, the other was going to rape me. Both stories are in the memoir I’ve written. I’d like to think these things don’t happen to many women, but your story and several others I’ve heard in the last week tell me otherwise. I don’t know what to make of this world. It’s not the one we grew up in. Stay vigilant. Be aware! Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  13. Hi Brenda,

    How frightening that Tammy was being stocked. She has been through so much in her life and so terribly sleep deprived it’s amazing
    that she responded so well. The bottom line is “always trust but verify.”

    What you had to face from this male service person makes my blood boil. I so relate to what you experienced and went through. It brings up so much anger in me to think that a
    man tries to attack or violate you. Err.

    I’m sure you are on high alert all the time and have a good alarm system. You can’t be too careful.

    Take care of yourself.

    • Thank you, Katherine! Such great points. Always trust but verify! I’m aware and I am armed out the wazoo, so if anyone breaks into my house, they better beware. I have guns, I know how to shoot and I’m not afraid to use them. You take care as well. xoxox, Brenda

  14. Hello Brenda, thank you so much for sharing with us. So glad to hear that you’re both ok after those frightening incidents. We can’t be too careful.
    Many years ago, I was stalked and sexually assaulted in my own home, and I can’t begin to tell you the horror of it all. I had to move, and I lived in fear for years. My whole world fell apart and I had a breakdown. Your home is supposed to be a shelter from the storms and it’s one of the places where you should feel safe. A part of me died when that happened. I am no longer the person I used to be. I am hypervigilant (no cellphone or listening to music) when I manage to go for a walk. I struggled for years, trying to regain some control over my life. There were times when I thought that I wouldn’t survive that horror. The one thing that the perpetrator wasn’t able to take from me was my soul. I am still alive to tell my story and to help other women.

    • Oh, Yvonne! I’m devastated for you. In your own home! Several things you’ve said really ring true with me, because I’ve been assaulted, once in my home, the other in another country. “A part of me died when that happened.” Yes, that’s what happened and it’s more than our trust and innocence that’s taken from us. The other thing you said is “the perpetrator wasn’t able to take from me was my soul.” In the memoir I’ve written, I’ve written something similar: “Should XYZ and ABC come for me, they need to know there’s nothing left to take but my soul and my tenacity. They should also know I will never go quietly for anyone ever again.” I could talk to you about this all day, because until this book, I’ve only told one other person. I’m sorry this happened to you, but I think you’ll understand when I stay it’s…. not sure what word to use… therapeutic maybe?… to hear about this happening to other women. Take care. Sending you all my love, Brenda

  15. God bless you. Yvonne. I’m so thankful you are alive and have been able to (at least somewhat) recover, heal, and be restored. As a rape crisis counselor years ago, I heard many stories so like yours and women were devastated mentally and emotionally for years. Praying for your complete restoration and healing. I’m so inspired by your courage and bravery in your work to recover and be able to help others.

    I remember being chased in a parking lot about 40 years ago. I barely got in my car and slammed and locked my door before the jerk was there behind me trying my car door. I cracked the window and told him he needed to go to church. I’m so thankful it wasn’t worse.

    Thank you so much for your post, Brenda! I hate that you had that happen using a company that is known for vetting the vendors! I’m sorry you had that happen at all, and that Tammy had to deal with that in the midst of her circumstances. Praying for God’s mercy. I’m so thankful that both of you responded as you did and are safe! Thank you for alerting and reminding of us to be watchful.

    I agree with Connie D, but think there’s not only been a cultural change but a spiritual one as well. God have mercy on us all.

    • Beckye, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean the world to me. So very thankful that we were able to escape that predator 40 years ago. The world certainly needs a spiritual change among other things. Take care and be safe!

    • Amen. God have mercy on all of us. These are confusing and trying times. I learned a lot about you in this comment, Beckye. I didn’t know you were a rape crisis counselor or that a wacko came after you as well. You might be interested in the comment I left Yvonne. Unspeakable things have happened to me, and before the memoir I’ve written, I’ve only told one other person. Several things Yvonne said resonated with me because I felt the same way. Looking back, I can see how it would have been helpful for me to have gotten counseling, but I didn’t. Blessing to you. Love, Brenda

  16. Sharing these experiences is an eye opener for many, a validation that those of us who are vigilant have good reason to be and for every woman out there … it is NOT paranoid to be hyper vigilant when it comes to your life. I am so glad you shared what you & Tammy experienced, Brenda. We need to know it’s not a name on tv or in the paper … it’s a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker. Thank the Lord you are both safe & took measures to ensure that.

    • And thank you, Laureen, for being there that night when I called you at 10:20 pm! I wanted someone else to know what happened to me that afternoon and to know his name, phone number, and the company he worked for in case he came back… in the middle of the night. As you know, I don’t scare easily, but that night and for the next few days, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he’d turned up in my bedroom. Love you my sweet friend. Brenda


    • Elizabeth, One in five… Shocking, isn’t it? I’m worried about you and Banksy! You’re both in my daily prayers. First time I’ve prayed for a pig… a four-legged one. xoxox, Brenda

    • I know. Scary numbers aren’t they? Annie can push my buttons with her barking, but no one will get past me, so that’s a good thing. Love you, sweet lady! Hope you’re doing better. B

  18. Oh my – just have to add after hearing the Seattle news last night that a lady was attacked in her home – purse/keys stolen. She went to emergency and when she came back he was in her apartment!

    Haven’t heard the follow up news.


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