CJ’s story: Weirdos in the woods

Is flashing and chasing a form of ‘stalking’? I’m not sure, but this happened many years ago in Glen Burnie when I used to walk and jog around in my neighborhood between Southgate and Old Mill. It is three separate instances, not sure if they are related but they all happened within months of each other. This was also pre-cell phones – in the early 80’s. The first incident was at the baseball fields in Old Mill/Southgate park – my friend and I were walking by and a man was apparently sunbathing naked – with a full erection – on one of the benches. We were 15 years old and looked at each other and giggled, and quickly walked away. The man never acknowledged us or moved. The second incident was a man emerging from a wooded area that bordered Shetlands Lane, near the Old Mill football field. He had his pants down and some kind of long jacket that he actually flashed open as I was walking by – he was about 20 yards away, so I turned around and pointed at his ‘display’ and started laughing as hard as I could. He closed his jacket and turned back into the woods. The third incident was somewhat scarier. I used to jog along the path next to the football stadium as it was right next to where I lived. The path was wooded on one side opposite the stadium and dipped down into a gulley at one point. While jogging on this path – and right at the point where it dipped down, I heard footsteps behind me and turned my head to see a man, with his pants down around his knees, running behind me. I outran him and was fortunately close to home and immediately told my Dad. He grabbed a sledge hammer from the shed and went looking for the guy, but fortunately I suppose, didn’t find him. These were not the only times I was flashed or approached by a man with an erection on display. After the first time, walking home from school and a young man came up to me on the wooded path to ask what time it was – with his pants down – I punched him in the face, ran home and called the police. They could do nothing and actually asked me to describe his penis – I was 13 or 14 years old. After that – I never reported these incidents to the police again. There was obviously a serious problem in that area with sex offenders and I don’t know if anyone (though I’m sure it did happen to someone) was ever actually assaulted. I was lucky, very lucky and wasn’t afraid to embarrass the perpetrator or even defend myself physically. Now that we have electronic media in everyone’s hands, though, and stricter laws regarding sex offenders – hopefully these types of incidents will be ‘exposed’ and girls (or boys, either) won’t be preyed upon.

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