6 practical tips to protect yourself against Peeping Toms
Social media has been abuzz with outrage after a local singer recorded a man peeping underneath his bathroom stall in a shopping centre.
A number of other social media users posted videos depicting similar traumatising experiences and raised the question: “With Peeping Toms turning what should be a private space into a ‘hunting ground’, should security be stationed outside secluded bathrooms in shopping malls?”
"Our sense of safety in shopping centres has steadily been eroded. Incidents where women and men are targeted in bathrooms are exceptionally traumatic and the ultimate invasion of privacy," says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women.
"Until such time that effective security measures are put in place, it’s up to each of us to take adequate precautions to ensure our safety. Unfortunately, not many people know what to do when they are caught up in a situation like this."
1st for Women Insurance provides guidelines of what to do to avoid being targeted, and how to handle the situation if you are:
- Stay alert
- Always be aware of what is going on around you. Be especially wary of individuals who are following you or loitering around for no apparent reason.
- Avoid secluded, unmonitored bathrooms as far as possible
- Where possible, ask a friend to wait outside and keep an eye out.
- Be sure to take your phone and/or panic button with you, so that you can quickly call for help when needed.
- If you come across a Peeping Tom when alone, alert those in your immediate surroundings and mall security immediately.
- It’s always a good idea to invest in basic self-defence training to give you the best chance to defend yourself, should the situation escalate.
- Proactive preparation is key and you owe it to yourself to consciously think about all the things that could go wrong and be as well-prepared as possible to handle them.
Rousseau concludes. "It’s also imperative to seek help or counseling for post-traumatic stress after an event like this."