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Alert Meerkat (badeendjuh, Morguefile)

Cat eyes and whiskers (blary54, Morguefile)

Slanted cat eyes (blary54, Morguefile)

Horizontal cat eyes (blary54, Morguefile)

Green cat silhouette (Alvimann, Morguefile)

Dog-policeman figure (kconnors, Morguefile)

Cat face close-up
in grass
(kceuna, Morguefile)

Guard Dog
(mettem, Morguefile)

Cat in front of small car (Randolph008, Morguefile)

Cliff kick
(plicka, Pixabay)

Old Man Ally
(Candid_Shots, Pixabay)
Violence & Common Sense

It is very important to be as relaxed or centred as possible. Before you go out, or when you are out, sink into your body, feel your body, notice your breathing, feel centred in your navel or hara.

Alert meerkat

Awareness

Be vigilant!


It helps to be aware of your environment and be able to predict what will happen. Probably best not to be texting, browsing or have headphones on, when out in public.
You lose situational awareness.

"Stop willingly giving up your sensory systems." (Tim Larkin)


Never trust the words and assurances of a potential attacker.
A human predator may use deception, appearing normal and polite until the attack.
Watch Using Body Language And Social Norms For Self Defense [6m52s].

Make use of the gift of fear - an innate sense that something is wrong and must be avoided - see here and here. Be prepared to be impolite and honour your intuition by, for example, crossing the street or not entering the lift.

Obviously - if you can - it is best to avoid dodgy areas or dangerous times.
For example, take the longer but safer route.

Vigilance brings a better chance to evade danger and/or act first if you find yourself near a choiceless asocial situation.

Cat eyes and whiskers

Teachable Moment

If you feel you cannot avoid a violent area, consider that in San Francisco there is The Wraparound Project, which reduced the rate of violent re-injury by 72%. They talk of a 'teachable moment' for 48 hours after a person is hospitalised due to being shot, stabbed or assaulted. It is a critical time when support and lifestyle change can be embraced. For example, one man who had been shot on three separate occasions changed his lifestyle and moved out of the violent area - see here.

Slanted cat eyes

Stalking

Put a STOP to it:-
S - Say No - Tell the person once that you do not want any contact, and then do not respond further.
T - Take Notes - Keep a diary of everything that happens and save evidence.
O - Options -
In the UK, call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 to discuss your options or email [email protected]. You can also call Paladin on 020 3866 4107. In other countries, research your options.
P - Police - Stalking behaviour is illegal. Report it.

Also very important:-
- Tell friends and family about it.
- Take digital safety seriously.
- Vary your routine.
- Trust your instincts. It can be like murder in slow motion. You are the best assessor.
(Adapted from BBC, posted and accessed 10 October 2017)
[Also see Violence & Intuition, Violence & The Gift of Fear, and What to do if you're being stalked.]

Horizontal cat eyes

Technology

An awesome free app appears to be Hollie Guard. A simple shake or tap activates it, automatically sending your location and audio/video evidence to your designated contacts. See here, here, here (3m45s), here. Other resources:-
  • Domestic abuse and how your phone can save your life (BBC/SafeLives, 2018).
  • BBC News 2018 review of tech options is here. Also see here.
  • Date Rape Wristband can tell if your drink has been spiked (BBC, 2019).
  • In the UK, an 888 app is proposed to help protect women travelling alone. By entering your home address and other frequent destinations, it can alert close contacts or the police if you do not return home. The idea has been criticised as it is being used politically by politicians to avoid dealing with systemic misogyny. I agree with this criticism and it is why I have an article dedicated to the need for socio-cultural shifts in violence. The shifts are the priority, but why not use an app too? See here, here, here.
Green cat silhouette

Avoid!

Why get involved in altercations which are avoidable, when a blow to the head can kill a person?
A collision of head onto planet can kill (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here).
In fact, you don't even need to physically harm someone to kill them (see here, here, here, here).
Even silly arguments with loved ones can turn fatal (see here, here).
Why risk your death?
Or the life of another? Your single punch may mean you endure a harrowing legal process, possible imprisonment or the death penalty (in certain countries). Also, you will have to live with your decision for the rest of your life (see here).
It ruins two lives (see here). "One punch, two lives."

This is the risk of getting drawn in to antisocial violence.
Surely, it is best to avoid fights and arguments, if you can.
Be the hero and walk away.
Inform nearby security staff and police of any trouble.
If violence is unavoidable, know that you can unsheathe your self-protection ability, like Target Focus Training. Remember that 'Surveys show that a victim who fights back with vigor usually forces the attacker to abort' (Geoff Thompson, Dead or Alive, p.186).
Otherwise, step/run away!

Dog-policeman figure

As to 'Stop-and-Search' by the police, the advice is to remain calm. Deescalate it. Know your rights. If necessary, complain later about unlawful acts. Watch here.
Long-term I believe that the societal/financial inequality between BAME and whites need to be addressed so that crime is naturally reduced (also see here).


On Respect, Feeling Useful & Doing Good

“Many men and women do not find their place in society; they feel ignored, looked down on and above all, useless – one of the worst feelings there is. So how then, will they use their energy? Since they are not given the chance to build anything, all that’s left to them is destruction. And destruction can take on so many forms. It’s not that they have a particularly nasty nature, but when people feel unfairly ignored, the only remaining way to draw attention to themselves, is by committing acts of destruction. Being sensitive to other people’s regard for, and opinion of you is not reprehensible in itself. However, your self-esteem and sense of self-worth should never depend on another’s view or opinion, but rather on your awareness of the secret work you do deep in your heart for the good of the whole world. So, even if society does not seem to need you, don’t let it upset you: you will always find a place where you can do something useful, good and beautiful. And whether what you do is recognized or not, it will make you joyful.” (O.M. Aïvanhov)

Cat face close-up in grass

Dogs

Dogs at home are good deterrents. Criminals tend to avoid such homes. Dogs - no matter their size - are alert, unpredictable, noisy, not so easily intimidated, and generally cause complications for the criminal.

Guard dog

Carjacking Tips:-
  • Be especially alert at critical areas: traffic lights, near your home, petrol stations, etc. Scan your environment.
  • A moving car is far more difficult to carjack. So, for example, slowly approach red traffic lights to avoid having to halt your car.
  • If you have to stop your car, leave space to escape by keeping sufficient distance from surrounding vehicles. In such a carjacking scenario, ideally you want your car to be moving as soon as possible!
  • Vary your routes.
  • Vary the times you leave and arrive home.
  • Lock your doors, keep your windows up, hide any valuables.
  • Trust your instincts. Minor accidents may be staged. Objects on the road may be traps to get you to leave your vehicle. Remember your car is a shield. If necessary, return the way you came. Call the police to investigate suspicious circumstances.
Cat in front of small car

Learn
more about car self-defence (with a handgun) when immobilised in a violent mob: ‘How to Use Your Car For Self-Defense…’ Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Abduction Tips:-
  • The most critical moment is the moment of attempted abduction. It is when you have the most power to escape. The attacker will try to severely intimidate you at this moment, displaying weapons and assuring your safety if you comply. However, remember your brain and its intent is very powerful tool and attack. Geoff Thompson (author of Dead or Alive: The Choice is Yours, p.158) says:
'Many attackers use the threat of a weapon to scare their victims into going along quietly when they abduct them. The abductors then take the victims to a secluded location to commit their crimes. Fighting back immediately and fiercely is essential in these cases. Once the attackers take the victims away from the abduction scene, the chances of escape diminish with every second.'

Making a lot of noise (e.g. screaming, battle cry) may help. Attackers don’t want the complications that the attention may bring from those within hearing distance, and may halt the attack.
  • If driving: Lock your doors, keep your windows up. Try to keep the car moving, as it much harder to target - see Carjacking Tips.
Rape Tips:-
  • On a TFT course, if I recall correctly, the instructor taught that rape reports show that the face of the attacker is often scratched and the person raped has the skin of the attacker under their fingernails. This indicates that the person raped had access to the face of the attacker - but was socially or otherwise constrained to only scratch. There was the opportunity to gouge the eye. Be prepared to do this.
  • Pretending meek compliance is one strategy to disarm the attacker (physically and mentally). Say “Do what you want, just don’t hurt me”. Then begin to strike preemptively.
  • In case you think resisting will only make things worse, here is Geoff Thompson again (Dead or Alive: The Choice is Yours, p.158, first published 1997):
'Recent surveys have shown that women who fought back against armed rapists came away with no more injury than those who did not fight back.'
  • When assessing a situation of rape and you choose not to gouge an eye, you can use other targets instead or use chokes/strangles. This more measured approach may be useful if the aggressor is a drunk 'friend' or relative. Here are some video links that may help:-
Woman kicks man off cliff

Men as Allies

Usually self-protection advice - as for much of this article - is about what you can do to avoid and handle violence.
Typically women use common sense with: lengthy detours, well-lit streets, talking on the phone, clutching keys as a ready weapon, wearing comfortable shoes to be able to run away, texting to say she arrived home safely.
But seldom are men asked to change their behaviour to
reduce the anxiety and fear women feel in public.
Rarely are men taught how they can 
safeguard the women in their community.
So, what can men do to make women feel safer?
After the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard in London in 2021, women gave these guidelines to men (posted and accessed 10 March 2021):-
  • Give women as much space as possible on quieter streets.
  • Keep your face visible.
  • Give her space. Do not walk too closely towards a woman.
  • Give her space. Do not block alleyways, underpasses or narrow pathways. Let her pass safely.
  • Give her space. Do not walk too closely behind a woman. She may feel followed.
  • Give her space. Avoid hasty movements near her. If you need to overtake, fall back, cross the road, and only then speed to your destination.
  • Be audible, so your presence is not a surprise. You might say, "Runner/Cyclist on your right/left."
  • Be active bystanders. Intervene if a situation looks odd or someone looks scared or uncomfortable. You could simply shout out, "Hey Jane, is that you?" or "Hey Jane, how's it going?", which can defuse a situation.
  • Call out problematic behaviour of colleagues, acquaintances and friends. Read more on this here.
  • Offer to walk female friends home. The journey may seem safe to you, but her world is so different. Help transform it for the better!
Old man carrying flowers at the kerb of a street, aware of the people nearby, applying allyship

This article has the following headings:-

1 - Awareness
2 - Teachable Moment
3 - Stalking
4 - Technology
5 - Avoid!
6 - On respect, Feeling Useful & Doing Good
7 - Dogs
8 - Carjacking Tips
9 - Abduction Tips
10 - Rape Tips
11 - Men as Allies
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Also see:-


Violence articles

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© Bruce Mitchell 2014-Now. All rights reserved.
Page last updated: 9 October 2021.