Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Stay Safe! How to deter a predator

         My brother had a bee in his balaclava helmet.
       “It’s a hostile world out there,” he said, “I’d better teach you to protect yourself.”  Having recently joined a martial arts school, he was keen to try out his newly acquired skills.Me, I wasn’t too sure. Going by past experience the only person I ever needed protection from was HIM! But, hey, if he wanted to do the big brother thing then who was I to stop him. Next news, a size 10 trainer came flying in my direction, stopping a mere centimetre from my nose.
        “That was just a warm up,” he explained with a smidgeon of self-congratulation. Oh joy!  “Now, let’s suppose someone were to sneak up on you from behind and grab you by the throat – like this!”
       Too late to object. Before I could say “Stop it!” his forearm was already locked in place, squeezing the air from my trachea. “Gerrout of that!” he cried. For the next two minutes, I struggled to get free, wriggling, scratching, pinching his arm, and gasping for breath as my lungs began to shrivel and my heart was pounding, 19 to the dozen.
       Fortunately, I was wearing my new shoes at the time, my first ever pair with proper, grown-up heels. Not very high, but sharp enough to be banned from our sitting room’s parquet flooring. Sharp enough, indeed, to make my 6’3” brother yelp with anguish as I kicked him firmly in the shin.
       “What’s going on!” cried my harassed mother, rushing in from the kitchen, potato peeler in hand.  
       “She kicked me!” yelled my brother, trying hard not to cry and hopping around like a pink flamingo on speed!  “I think she’s broken my shin bone!”
       “Jacy, you bully!” said Mum. “Leave your brother alone!”
       There is a serious side to this anecdote. Since my adolescence, serious assaults against males and females of all ages have proliferated alarmingly. Some people, women especially, are now afraid to go out alone, even in broad daylight. City centres can be a nightmare, particularly at night. Nowhere is safe. So what do we do? How can we protect ourselves? Is becoming a karate black-belt the only answer? Would that even help?
       Of course, none of us can guarantee our safety no matter where we go, but you’re not entirely helpless. Here are a few weapons which may protect you from attack.
Forward planning
       Whenever you go out for the evening – to a party,  club or even a cinema – make sure you get home safely by planning transport in advance – either by arranging a lift with a trusted friend or family member, or by travelling with a group. Teenagers please note - most parents will gladly pick you up to keep you out of danger!
       Predators are rarely looking for a fight. What they search for is a perfect victim, someone who looks vulnerable, uncertain and lacking self-worth. Stride purposefully, with shoulders squared and head held high.  Act as though you know where you’re going (even if you don’t) and adopt a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude.
       If he gives you the creeps, he’s probably a creep! Don’t be persuaded to stick around or be manoeuvred into a solitary place. Just leave. You don’t need excuses. Put plenty of distance between you and make sure other people are around to help.
       Should anyone make to assault you, Scream. At the top of your voice! It really is one of your best defences. A piercing, glass shattering scream may alert others and will often deter an attacker.
       Being determined to fight back surprises and disturbs the would-be assailant. 
       If possible, and as soon as you see your chance, Run. Take off your shoes if necessary and run to safety – the nearest house or any place where there are people. 

       Sorry but the way you dress DOES matter. No one has the right to assault you however you dress BUT if you can see up it, down it or through it, you could inadvertently be attracting the wrong sort of attention. Okay, you may want to wear that skimpy outfit for the party/club/restaurant, but please cover up when walking home!
       Whether you fear an attack or have recently suffered one, tell the police.  By reporting an incident and providing as much information as you can, you may help to prevent others being assaulted in the future.


1 comment:

  1. I do like that you included a note to say that it is not your fault when when he attacks you because of the way you dress but can influence it....well sort of what you saying i think. We dont want those oafs thinking they are excused for human decency.

    Sorry jumping in from your twitter conversation with Pius.

    Wendy @ Fabulosity Reads