Safety Awareness- Your #1 Self Defense Weapon
W.I.S.E. Women, LLC is a firm believer that your #1 self-defense weapon is safety awareness in potentially dangerous surroundings. As mentioned in our previous article, 5 Stages of a Violent Crime, attacks are not purely random. An attacker is looking for a victim who will be an easy target. Here are some things that you can do, so that you are not an easy target.
1)Carry yourself with confidence. Walk with your head up, shoulders back and with a purpose. Attackers are looking for mousy people who walk with their heads down and their minds somewhere else, not paying attention to their surroundings. When you carry yourself with confidence, you are sending a non-verbal message to a possible attacker that you will not be an easy target.
2)Be aware of your personal space. If someone asks you for the time or for directions, do not let them get close to you where they could grab you or attack you.
3)Always have your keys ready. If you are walking to your car, always have your keys in your hands and ready to use. This will avoid fumbling through your purse and being temporarily distracted from your surroundings when you reach your car.
4)Pay attention to the car beside yours. As you approach your vehicle, pay attention to the car parked next to your driver’s side door. If someone is sitting in the passenger seat of that vehicle, be cautious as you approach your car and have an escape plan in mind. By hiding in the passenger seat of the vehicle next to yours, it is very easy for an attacker to jump out and grab you as you are trying to get into your car.
5) Never, ever go with an attacker. Never! Even if you are being threatened with a weapon, you should always do everything in your power to not leave the scene of the attack with your attacker. Statistics overwhelmingly show that you are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator. (Even if he promises not to hurt you.)
6)Leave once you get in your car. Many women sit in their car, fixing make-up, checking messages or making errand lists. This makes you a sitting target and you should always leave immediately after you get in your vehicle.
7)Yell FIRE if you are attacked. Sad but true, it has been shown that people are leary of getting involved in situations where someone yells for help ,for fear of putting themselves in serious danger or a violent situation. These days, who knows who might be carrying a gun or a knife? It has been proven that if you yell FIRE, people are much more likely to come to your assistance and dial 911 because they feel an obligation to their community and their safety is not threatened.
8)Never stop to take a survey. If you are leaving a store, do not stop if someone asks you to take a survey in the parking lot. This seemingly innocent approach preys on many women’s need to ‘be nice’, not wanting to say ‘no’ or appear cold. It is this exact play on women’s emotions that is used to draw them in to an interaction that allows the predator close enough in proximity to commit a crime on his victim.
9)Have your self defense weapon ready. It goes without saying, but you would be surprised how many women carry pepper spray or a stun gun….in their purse and don't have it in their hands when it is really needed. Whether it is a kubatan on your key ring, a stun gun or pepper spray, you should always have it in your hands as you walk in a parking lot or potentially dangerous area.You will not have time to retrieve your self defense weapon from your purse if you are faced with a violent crime situation.
10)Be aware of your surroundings at the ATM. Most attacks at an ATM drive-thru come from the blind spot behind the driver’s side of the vehicle. Check your blind spot. Look over your left shoulder before rolling down your window. Stay aware of that area while you are completing your transaction, and then roll up your window and leave as soon as your transaction is complete. You can put your money and receipt in your purse, after you have left the ATM drive-thru.
In the upcoming weeks, we will be posting many more safety awareness tips so please check back often and email us with any questions you may have. We'd love to hear from you!
Developed by Marc MacYoung, the 5 Stages of a Violent Crime are a world-known system used in training law enforcement, military and self defense instructors. Knowing how these stages unfold can make you alert and prepared to respond before you are attacked. The best self defense weapon is safety awareness and avoiding potentially dangerous situations in the first place.
A perpetrator goes through these 5 stages when committing a violent crime. The first 3 stages are the precursor to any violent crime and the place where you have the opportunity to avoid an attack. Once you have reached the 4th stage, you must employ your self defense training and use any self defense weapon that you may possess at that time.
If you are aware and alert, you will be assessing the attacker at the same time he is assessing you so you will be alert and ready to protect yourself.
1. The Intent- The intent is the stage where the criminal is mentally prepared to commit a violent act such as burglary, kidnapping or rape. They have made the conscious choice and set the intention for what they are about to do. By recognizing subtle ‘oddities’ in a person’s demeanor, speech and body language you can be alert and prepared for a potential attack.
2. The Interview- The interview stage is where the attacker ‘sizes up’ their potential victim. They may ask you for the time or for directions, to see how you respond. The attacker is looking to see if you allow them into your personal space, are friendly and welcoming, or if you are on guard and cautious. If your guard is down, you are more likely to be determined an easy target.
3. Positioning- In the positioning stage, an attacker looks for an opportunity for an easy attack. You should minimize this opportunity by being alert, carrying a self defense weapon such as pepper spray or a kubatan in plain sight. Other ways to prevent bad positioning are to stay in well lit areas and always have an easy escape to quickly seek help. Carrying your cell phone in your hand or pretending to be on the phone with someone will deter an attacker because they will think that you are in contact with someone who will know of the attack.
4. The Attack- At this point, the attacker has decided that you are a good target and has executed the act of an attack on you. This is the point when you should use whatever physical and verbal self defense tactics that you may have. Remember, you are not trying to take down your attacker- escape is the goal! If you happen to have a self protection device in your possession, use it as if your life depends on it. It does! Yell ‘FIRE’ to alert people in the area that help is needed and catch your attacker off guard, buying valuable seconds to escape.
5. The Reaction- This is the most dangerous, and often most violent stage in the cycle of a violent crime. In the reaction stage, this is how a criminal feels about himself after he has committed the violent crime. This is the stage when a simple robbery can easily turn into a kidnapping, rape or murder. Does the attacker get a thrill from the crime he has committed? Does he want to prolong the experience? Does he panic and want to cover up his actions? These are all common responses that may turn an attack into a deadly situation very quickly..
Remember, crime is a process and almost never random. You have the opportunity to recognize the warning signs in the first 3 stages and avoid an attack. Avoidance and escaping a potential attacker is always the #1 goal.
Victim Selection Through the Eyes of a Rapist
Every 9 seconds a women is sexually assaulted or beaten in America.
In a recent study, a group of rapists were interviewed in prison to gain insight into what they look for in a potential victim. Believe it or not, there is actually a great deal of pre-meditation that goes into selecting their target. The overall consensus is that they look for an easy target. The goal is to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they have more control over the environment, hence, to not worry about getting caught.
A woman’s hairstyle is the first thing they look for in a potential target victim. Most of the men agreed that a woman with a pony tail, braid, long hair or other hairstyle that can be easily grabbed is a preferable target. Women with short hairstyles are less likely to be victimized.
Clothing that can be removed quickly is another criteria that these convicted rapists stated was a consideration when selecting their victim. For example, a skirt is preferable to pants with boots.
A cotton outfit is preferable to leather. Most of these men admitted to carrying scissors with them to quickly cut away any clothing.
The top three places that women are abducted are 1) grocery store parking lots, 2) office parking lots/parking garages, and 3) public restroom.
In the interviews, it was overwhelmingly stated that these rapists were looking for easy targets. Women who were distracted, on their cell phone or fumbling around for their car keys were much more likely to be abducted and sexually assaulted.
If a woman put up any kind of fight at all, they often would get quickly discouraged because they knew she would be difficult to “man handle”. Yelling to call attention was an equally strong deterrent.
These men stated that women with umbrellas or other similar objects that can be used from a distance are strong deterrents. Keys in the woman’s hand were not, due to the fact that they could only be used once the attacker was already in the personal space zone. Walking with your stun gun, pepper spray or kubatan key ring in hand, confidently and alert, with your keys in hand ready to enter your car without fumbling around proved to be paramount in deterring a potential sexual assault. A pepper spray key ring is an ideal way to carry your pepper spray in the ready position and have your car keys ready to open the door immediately when you reach your vehicle.
If someone approaches you, is alone in an elevator with you or seems to be following you, look them directly in the face and ask them a question or start small talk. These convicted rapists said that once they realized a woman could provide facial recognition, they no longer considered her a potential victim and were diswayed from proceeding with their planned attack.
Do not ever let your guard down! Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was notorious for playing into the compassion and sympathy of his victims. He walked with a cane or a limp and asked for help getting into his vehicle as a means of drawing in his victim and then abducting her.
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Always carry your kubatan keychain in your hand, in ready position, when walking in a high risk environment.
You must never leave the primary crime scene. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you).
Always call a cab company and ask for ID when the driver arrives. Never just take a cab on the street. Companies keep log of who each driver is picking up when you call to order a cab, in case something bad happens.
I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) Program your cell phone with a contact named ICE.. This is the universal cell phone directory name for police to look up if you are ever unable to speak for yourself.