Women’s advocacy group says reports of man following women in East Nashville can be a bigger concern

Safety concerns after man allegedly follows women has women' advocacy group saying this could by a first step to bigger concerns.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 7:32 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - After several women in East Nashville spoke out concerned for their safety because they said a man was following them around in a car, a women’s advocacy group said behavior like that could be a first step to bigger concerns.

“We all have that terror of the car slowing down as it drives past us so that this person is willing to purposely frighten people in this neighborhood and frighten women,” Jennifer Escue, the Interim Executive Director at Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, said.

WSMV4 reported the story on Tuesday and Metro Police said it identified the man who the women said was following them. Police said the man lives in that area, they talked to him, and he apologized.

The East Nashville area near Cleveland Street and Lischey Avenue is known as a walking neighborhood.

Metro Police said Wednesday it’s taking the reports women made seriously and will be stepping up patrol in the area, an idea one women’s advocacy group appreciates for worrying cases like this.

Escue said this type of incident is too familiar for women.

“It reminds me that women often have to carry around more fear than men do when they’re walking,” Escue said.

She said incidents like that could be nothing or it could really escalate.

“This is someone who is showing disregard for frightening someone and it’s kind of having a little bit of power over them and I think the root of abuse is a desire for power and control, and right now he has control of the ability of being able to frighten these women,” Escue said. “But why is there an attitude that we can approach strangers like this? That we can approach women like this? That we can frighten them on purpose and is there a possibility it can become more, that it can lead to a violent act? It’s the first step that he is willing to scare women like this.”

Metro Police said it has two reports of women saying a vehicle was following them. In addition to stepping up patrol, they said they have identified the man and every shift at the East Precinct has been told about the man and what he is accused of doing.

Women’s advocacy group said the extra burden of safety on women needs to shift.

“A lot of times people will ask what can women do, what can they do to make themselves safer? What can we do to make men stop doing things like this? What can we do to make people who are perpetrating these kinds of acts stop doing that? I think that is the question, as a society, we need to be thinking about,” Escue said.

In the meantime, she has this advice for the women in that East Nashville neighborhood.

“Just the things we’ve been taught to do since we were little girls. Be careful going out after dark, take a friend, be aware of your surroundings,” Escue said. “Just those things that I’m sure they’re already doing. Definitely, if it continues to be an issue, keep reporting it.”

Metro Police told WSMV4 there was no basis for an arrest at the moment, but police is asking women in that neighborhood to report and call them if it keeps happening.