Victoria woman followed by stranger turns story into powerful Facebook post
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:19PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2018 9:33AM PST
A Victoria woman's frightening experience being followed while walking home has turned into a viral Facebook post stressing the importance of trusting your gut.
Carol Linnitt, a journalist and co-founder of online publication The Narwhal, says she was walking down Cook Street on the night of Nov. 26 when she felt a presence behind her.
"Like many women in Victoria, I didn't think twice about walking home," she said, adding that her husband asked her to walk in a well-lit area for her safety. "As I was walking down Cook, I just started to register this feeling like someone was behind me."
As Linnitt got to a red light at Cook Street and Fairfield Road, she turned around to find a man right behind her.
"He had these dark piercing eyes and these kind of hollow cheeks and locked eyes with me," she said.
The journalist says he kept following her, so she crossed the street trying to get away from him and eventually went inside a nearby pet store.
She waited to see if the man would disappear, but he didn't.
"When I came out, there he was just standing across the street just waiting for me to come back out of the store," she said. "At that point I called my husband and said 'I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I might be being followed, and I just have a bad feeling. Can you come pick me up?'"
Her husband arrived within minutes – but the story didn't end there.
Linnitt said she and her husband saw the man again, this time from their vehicle, and noticed this time he seemed to take interest in another woman walking on the street.
"We made the decision we should intervene in some way, fearing for the safety of this young woman," she said.
She hopped out of the car and told the woman she was being followed by the same man who followed her earlier. She and her husband then decided to give the young woman a ride to her yoga class and reported the incident to police.
As it turns out, officers validated Linnitt's concerns about the man after they caught up with him.
"What I can say is we've had interactions with him in the past, and he is known to us," said Victoria police spokesman Const. Matt Rutherford, adding the man wasn't arrestable for anything.
CTV News has reached out to the woman Linnitt approached, a law student named Kelly who says she was thankful for the intervention.
"I have to admit I was pretty startled when Carol jumped out of her car and ran over to me that evening," she said. "Even though I had no idea whether the man behind me was actually dangerous, I was empowered by the way Carol trusted her intuition to look out for my own safety."
That's what both women say it's all about.
"I don't want this to be a story about people being afraid to walk around," said Linnitt. "This is really a story about how can we registered people's needs on the streets in a way where we can all make each other safer?"
Her Facebook post detailing the events – and encouraging others to protect and look out for one another – has clearly struck a nerve, being shared more than 2,600 times.
It has also sparked a dialogue about the importance of trusting your intuition whenever you feel unsafe.
Read Carol's full post below: