“He sits on my chest and pins my arms with his knees, then beats my face. The last time I was in the hospital with a broken eye socket and jaw for a week. The bruises and humiliation from not leaving compounded my pain.”
This Combat Martial Arts student of mine learned to channel her former fear. She left him immediately with the help of the local Women’s Resource Centre and six months later they met by chance in the local grocery store and she wasn’t afraid.
“I so wanted him to try something because I was prepared mentally and physically to beat the shit out of him as he had done to me for so many years.”
Evaluating your present situation is the first step in your reclamation project. Does your home have dead bolts and peep holes on exterior doors? They are inexpensive and easy to install and offer considerable defense against unwanted entry and your ability to peruse visitors before opening the door. It is not rude to do so.
Are your windows well secured? If your windows are of the sliding variety, place a piece of dowel in the groove (measure the space and the lumber yard will cut it for you). If your windows have a latch and push either out or in, make sure the latch is well secured to the frame.
Consider the exterior of your home. Are there shrubs near windows that could conceal someone tampering with your windows? Trim them or have them removed/relocated…your safety comes before aesthetics. Are there shrubs by your entry? Someone could conceal themselves there as you approach your home. Are there ladders or similar equipment stored outside where it would have easy access by a burglar? Store them in a garage of shed and have them out of sight.
When someone comes to your door with whom you’re not familiar, ask for identification if the person claims to be a repair person or simply say that you’re not interested–speaking through the door–DON’T OPEN IT! You are not being rude so don’t chide yourself for your actions. Any caring caller will understand. If you have a 9-1-1 service in your area, program your phone for it, if not, program the law enforcement emergency number. Have your street address written by the phone. Often stress can cause the simplest of information to temporarily escape us. Have a light by the phone. If you hear a suspicious noise outside, such as someone rattling your windows or door, quietly call 9-1-1, don’t investigate. Officers would rather attend a false alarm than the alternative. Do not hesitate.
If your community has a Neighborhood Watch, join it. They are a police program which brings neighbors together so they can get to know each other, know their addresses and phone numbers. Many crimes have been prevented with these programs which include large signs warning would-be thieves that they are being watched. This is a short video explaining Rural Crime Watch which is identical to Neighborhood Crime Watch, but rural: Crime Watch Video
Your parked car can often be a haven for would-be assailants. Park away from obstacles that could conceal someone–large trucks/vans, bushes, large garbage containers, behind buildings etc. In a tiered parking lot, park close to the stairs if a spot is empty or wait for one to become available. If this is impossible, then search for a spot that meets the criteria mentioned above. As you’re driving, be cognizant of individuals in cars or those walking about. Stay in your car until they leave. As you exit your car, continue to be observant as you leave the parking area.
When returning to your car, always have your keys in hand, ready to open your car door. As you approach your vehicle, do so from an angle so you can observe around and underneath. Before you enter your car, glance in the back seat/floor. Once in, lock all doors immediately.
Car jacking is a rapidly developing activity that has prevented many people from using their car. It isn’t necessary to deprive yourself of the joy and necessity of driving. Car jacking will only occur when you’re stopped at a light or parking your car. As you approach a stop light or enter the parking area, roll up your windows. That’s not hard to remember…be a defensive driver and have your mind on driving. Keep all doors locked. If you’re rear-ended, and in a remote or uninhabited area, signal to the other driver to follow you and drive to a populated gas station or similar area and deal with the accident. Before you get out of your vehicle look around and observe your surroundings. You’d do the same if you parked next to a construction sight so this isn’t any different. An obvious yet often overlooked safety procedure is picking up hitchhikers. Prisons are bulging with “clean cut” assailants.
“Okay, I’ve made sure my home and car are safer and I’ll take the necessary precautions, but what if?” That question is best answered with a question posed to yourself. “Am I worth the effort to learn to protect myself?” “Can I be aggressive and attack my attacker?” If the answer to these queries is “Yes”, then you have accomplished a great deal. Assailants look for “Vics”, those of us who walk as though preoccupied. Carry yourself erect, shoulders back, head up and look at people you pass.
Eye contact or lack of it tells an assailant you want to avoid confrontation and he’ll pick up on that. You don’t need to lock on to his face or stare, look catch his eye, then look up or off to the side, not down (a passive message) is all that is necessary to get the message across that you’re aware of his presence and that you’re in charge. If a stranger stops you in the street and asks directions, ignore them and quickly move on. This simple and charitable act is often a ruse for assailants. If someone pulls up in a car while you are walking and asks directions, give them if you wish, but be aware of anyone approaching from behind who could shove you toward the car and don’t approach the car. Better yet, tell them you are new and not familiar with the area.
These preventive measures are easy and simple to adopt. You’ll become more aware and increase your appreciation of your environment. Carry bear spray, it is readily available in sporting goods and hardware stores. It comes in small, easily carried containers. Keep it in your pocket, not your handbag.
If you are confronted by someone who is obviously bent on causing you harm, you’ve already decided you’ll take aggressive action. You will feel an adrenaline rush, which is normal. Don’t dismiss this feeling but use it in the form of anger that this person would have the audacity to do you harm. As he approaches, turn your body slightly to affect a left foot forward and rear foot slightly behind and your weight balanced. You have controlled anger. You are emitting an aura that can’t says, I can not be intimidated. Remember, your primary concern must be your mind set…that you can and will do whatever is necessary to prevent being a victim.
Put both of your hands up, palms facing outwards and yell, “Stop!” If he continues toward you, spray him directly in the eyes then strike those eyes and throat with your fist, knuckles extended then using your right leg, knee him in the groin continually until he is down.
The key to regaining control of your life and alleviating the Fear is to decide that you are worth every effort to be in command and that you’ll do whatever is necessary to anyone who attempts to do you physical harm.
There are several postings and videos here that will also encourage your aggression toward independence.
Please email me, in confidence, if you wish to discuss overcoming fear and recapturing your courage.
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