1. Be aware of yourself and your surroundings. Don't be concentrating on work, your love life or school. When you're on the street you need to be alert. Walk with head up. Walk strong.Those words are not mine. They belong to Brigid. Her words ring true. Although they were composed for daughters, Brigid's words have value to everyone who refuses to be victimized.
2. If you feel afraid DO SOMETHING. Fear warns you.
3. When it is obvious that you are going to be attacked, take action at the first sign of threat.
4. If there is not time to flee, fight until you know you are safe.
5. If you carry a weapon, know how to use it. Practice with it. Have it in easy reach.
As I was reading Brigid's words this evening, I reflected on my eldest daughter. She is a newly minted attorney. I'm very proud of her. She carries a Makarov. My youngest has also made the commitment to never be a victim. I'm proud of her as well. In Brigid's piece, she references Hecate, who tells a story of an unfortunate whistle blower. Hecate's story also hit very close to home.
Last week, on the night shift, a nurse was walking through the lobby of the hospital she worked in, taking a stat specimen to the lab. A man came running up to her, and frantically told her that his wife was in the rest room and needed help. Like any trained nurse, the young woman responded. As soon as she opened the rest room door, the man shoved her to the floor. The young nurse was immediately in a fight for her life. She had scissors in her pocket. While blocking the blows the best she could, she pulled the scissors from her pocket.
The attacker wrestled the scissors from her grasp and stabbed her between the ribs. What happened next is still the grist of the rumor mill that exists in every hospital. The nurse went through surgery, and spent a couple of days in intensive care before she was discharged. News reports say her attacker is still at large. The rumor mill says otherwise.
The hospital administration responded predictably, advising staff to travel in pairs at night, and providing free whistles. If a nurse desired an escort to her car at the end of her shift, all she needed to do is call security and wait until an unarmed security guard is available. Because Hecate's words are so strong, I will use them here as well.
"A rangemaster at gun school who was also a sheriff's deputy once told me about a nurse who had serious ex-boyfriend problems. After responding to one of her 911 calls, he told her she should get a handgun. He offered to advise her on weapon selection and arrange for training.Brigid and Hecate's words have power and wisdom. I would like to add only a couple of thoughts.
She said she'd think about it, and asked her hospital colleagues what they thought. Thoroughly indoctrinated in pacifist attitudes, they were horrified and told her she should get a whistle instead. That was what she decided to do, and the deputy said he could not talk her out of it.
When her body was later found in the hospital parking lot, the whistle was still between her teeth. She had blown it until it filled up with blood as she died."
Often, it is not enough to be aware and walk tall. There are those who will not be deterred by such actions. Having a means of effective self defense is imperative, but who wants to use it if they do not have to? The very act of defending oneself can cause undesirable interruptions in one's life, from court dates to actually changing the course of one's life forever. It is far better to evade than resist.
To evade, and thus survive unscathed and unencumbered, a person must be able to recognize an impending threat. These skills come through experience, or through listening to those with experience. Much of the early warning signals rely on intuition that can be easily rationalized away. As humans, we disarm ourselves of the instinctual survival skills every wild animal possesses through our denial of the realities of life and death, and through our desire for security, even if it is only an illusion.
A woman might recognize that her boyfriend is abusive, but remain in denial that he would ever be a threat. A nurse might recognize that rapes occur, but still respond as she always has when told someone frantically asks her for help. A man might believe that nobody would think of attacking him in a parking lot, until he is surrounded by five intent on robbery. A critical evaluation of our own weaknesses is the first step towards protecting ourselves. Knowing how criminals operate is crucial to predicting their behavior and evading the threat they represent.
But how does a person learn how criminals operate? Again, either through experience or listening to others. No one person can predict all tactics a criminal might use to gain the advantage prior to an attack, The tactics have common denominators though. Probing. Violations of personal space. Emotional or ethical conflict to cause the selected victim to lower defenses. Seeing the attack while the predator is still in the victim selection or location selection mode is key. Predicting the future is not easy, but there are signs that the informed person who listens to their instincts can pick up on.
A boxer does not recognize a punch being thrown by watching the gloves, but rather by sensing the hips of his opponent. Boxers who do not learn how to slip are forced to parry. If the parry will not work, the block is the next resort. However, if all a boxer knows is defensive strategy, he will cover up until beaten. He must also learn to punch. But boxing matches are not street fights, and a whistle will not end the street fight the way a bell ends a boxing match.
I picked up a whistle though. It might be useful in training my dog. For protecting myself, I will rely on something more effective. My instincts, my knowledge, and an effective repellent if needed.