This weekend, PAN hosted the third and final of its 21st anniversary Full Moon Rituals in Sydney. Unfortunately, the event was marred by a member of the public who wrongly concluded that we were Satanists and began to shout threats and obscenities at us. Fortunately, there is safety in numbers, and he soon walked away when he realised that we weren’t intimated by him. We also called the police for good measure. In light of this event, here are a list of safety precautions for dealing with aggressive and/or misinformed members of the public while going about your pagan business.
Get out of harm’s way
If someone is physically threatening or intimidating you, get away from them immediately. Go to a well-lit, crowded area as they are less likely to attack you infront of witnesses.
Scream at the top of your lungs. No criminal wants to get caught, and screaming is likely to draw attention and scare the culprit away.
If someone is threatening, intimidating or harassing you, keep a record of their actions as evidence. If you can do so safely, take photos and video of them committing the act. Try to capture as much detail as possible including their face, any identifying marks or jewellery, all the phrases they are saying and the extent of any damage they have caused. Do not endanger yourself in order to get this footage.
If they have sent you any text-based threats, keep screenshots or printed copies of these. Make sure to capture the Email address, phone number or username that sent these threats. Also keep a record of the date and time that you received these messages.
Keep a safe backup copy of these files on an external hard drive, designated USB or in hard copy. Do not leave your records ‘just lying around’ as they may get lost or be deleted.
If an incident happens in a public space such as a shopping centre, school, workplace or on the street, ask the security or management for these premises to save the relevant CCTV footage so it can be used for further investigation.
If there are any witnesses to the incident, ask for their contact details so that you or the authorities can follow up with them later regarding a witness statement. When approaching witnesses, speak calmly and make it clear that you have no problem or ill will towards them. You are only asking for their help and all they have to do is give their account of anything they saw or heard- however small or insignificant they think it is. If you personally collect a written witness statement, make sure it includes the person’s name, signature, date and contact details.
Report the incident
Report the incident to the relevant authorities. This may be the police, the landlord, a company’s management or even someone’s parents. Have a clear account of the ‘who, what, when, where’ of the incident in your mind, so that you can give a detailed and straightforward account of what happened. You may like to write an incident report and submit this to the relevant authorities. Make sure that you sign and date it if you do.
Always get conformation that your report has been received. If you have contacted the police, ask for an Event Number (E-Number). This is a reference number that is associated with the related police report. It will be useful if you need to access this police report at a later date.
In all other instances, ask if you can have a signed copy of the incident report from the person you have reported it to. If not, at the very least, you should be given the reference number for the report. Insist on this.
Tell others where you’re going
If you are attending a pagan event at night, in a remote area, or a ‘rough’ neighbourhood, tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return. This way, if you do not return on time, you will be missed and an effort to find you can begin sooner rather than later.
If you have any other suggestions for staying safe, please let us know in the comment section.