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Holly

The Importance of Personal Safety (Outside The Home)

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL SAFETY (OUTSIDE THE HOME)

 

For an urban woman, personal safety involves more than just having a bug out bag or PSK on her person. There are many dangers living in a crowded, crime-ridden city or even in the suburbs. There is a lot of information out there on this subject, which can be overwhelming and hard to remember, so I am just covering the basics that every woman should know. Each one of these points can be explored more fully according to your desire to learn more.

 

Practicing these main points will begin to instill in you a new confidence, a new feeling of empowerment that you may be lacking at this time. And the more you practice, the more your confidence level will increase! And you will increase your chances of successfully avoiding an attack.

 

1) BE AWARE

 

This is the most important point of all. Be aware. This means before your hand even touches the doorknob to go outside, you need to get into the mindset of being aware of what is around you. Take a moment to look out your window and make sure no one is standing on or near your porch, or loitering in your driveway. When you do leave the house, scan the street and note anything out of the ordinary. Be aware, no matter what you are doing, whether it's working in the yard, going to work, shopping, running errands, or taking a walk. Take the time to really notice your surroundings.

 

Observe and listen!

 

(This "awareness of your surroundings" will also bring some blessings! You will find yourself "living in the moment". You will find yourself noticing the sunshine, the flowers, the trees, the fresh air, the sound of children playing, and all kinds of wonderful things outside that you may have been missing during your distracted, introverted thoughts of all the things you need to accomplish...)

 

2) INSTINCT

 

I call this my "radar system" and thankfully, mine is well-developed! This is your "gut instinct" that a situation feels wrong. This is the feeling inside of you that makes you feel uneasy when you have to walk in a dark parking deck. This is the feeling you get when you meet someone in a social setting and they "creep you out". Trust those instincts! Who cares if "polite society" expects you to be sociable toward someone if that person makes you feel nervous or uneasy? You can politely make an excuse and get away from that person.

 

This inner radar system can save your life. If you have spent your entire lifetime stifling your instincts because of fear of "what others might think", then you can change that thinking right now and start listening to the things your senses are telling you. Just practice it for awhile and you will find that you really CAN trust your inner self!

 

(From a Christian viewpoint, I like thinking that my radar system is actually my guardian angel screaming in my ear to get the heck out of there! LOL!)

 

3) SELF DEFENSE

 

You do not have to train in a martial art for the next twenty years or obtain your handgun permit in order to defend yourself. You do not have to work out every day in order to defend yourself. You do not have to walk around setting off store sensor alarms because you are packing several knives on your person in order to defend yourself.

 

Any woman can learn just a few basic skills that will increase your level of personal safety.

 

Your local police department and community college and even your local YMCA offer one-time classes that will teach you a few basic skills to help you in the event you are attacked. These "mini-classes" are a lot of fun to take and are taught in a non-threatening, sometimes hilarious manner, putting you at ease immediately. I have taken two of the courses held by the Charlotte Police Department and I have taken a self defense class through my local community college. I would highly recommend the mini-classes sponsored by the police department. Some of the skills you will learn are how to hold your keys in your hand at all times when walking, with one key protruding out between your first and second fingers, to be used to poke an attacker in the eye or throat, how to break some basic holds that an attacker may have you in, and practical tips on how to avoid getting into those situations in the first place!

 

However, if you are serious about learning more skills in self defense, I spoke with another one of our members here who has been involved in martial arts for most of his life. He has studied several of the martial arts, including tae kwon do, judo, aikido, jiu-jitsu, kali, and kung-fu. But his current favorite and in his words "the most practical" is "American Kenpo". It is a style blending Southern Chinese (Shaolin) kung fu and karate with Japanese jiu-jitsu holds, locks, and throws. The nice thing about kenpo is that a person can obtain their black belt usually within three to five years, versus the many years of study that other martial arts require.  He also pointed out that you will learn practical skills during the very first lesson.

 

In regard to relying upon devices such as handguns which are not practical, pepper spray which is not effective on 15% to 20% of assailants even if sprayed fully in the face, or knives which are also impractical unless you're a Ninja, my personal recommendation would be a stun gun. They are inexpensive, effective, and can be clipped onto your clothing for easy access. I went to a website featuring personal safety devices and was amused to see that they make some to resemble cell phones! (Just be sure to answer the right phone. LOL!!!) I have a stun gun at home within easy reach of my front door if needed. However, the use of a stun gun is open to debate, so you may want to discuss it with several qualified people before deciding to purchase one.

 

Your main line of defense is your own body. In the event you are attacked, use every available means to escape. Scream "FIRE!!!" instead of "HELP!!!" More people will run out to see a fire than to "get involved" if they hear someone calling for help. Go for the eyes with your thumbs, aiming and jabbing with all the force you can. You may only get one chance. Then try to kick the groin area. Scratch, kick, bite, punch, do whatever you can to escape and then RUN!!! And scream while you're running!

 

4) CAR JACKING

 

This is one of the most avoidable crimes. Most car jacking takes place at an intersection with the assailant coming up to the car at a 45 degree angle in your blind spot and yanking the door open. Simply keep your windows rolled up and lock all of your doors.

 

5) STALKING

 

This is a very real and very scary scenario. Most stalking is done by an ex spouse or former boyfriend (and yes, men get stalked by women too! Remember the movie "Fatal Attraction"?) . I was stalked for five years by a former boyfriend, which continued into the first three years of my marriage. I had to call the police because he broke into my car, I had to change my phone number three times, and finally, my husband had a "chat" with him. Fortunately for me, my stalker was relatively harmless. I have a close friend who is currently being stalked and unfortunately, he is NOT harmless. She has called her local police department numerous times and does not feel that she is getting the response needed in her situation. Her stalker has a previous relationship with her, he knows her home and family, and he has a criminal background. She is terrified!

 

What can my friend do? She can continue to bombard her police department with complaints. She can ask for a restraining order against this person. She can continue to record the phone messages being left on her answering machine, she can keep a journal of the times he contacts her at work. And she can practice Steps 1, 2, and 3 to empower herself and to build her confidence that she is NOT helpless, she is strong, and she will overcome this.

 

Just remember: Be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts, and practice some basic self defense. You can do this.

 

 

Just for your info:   http://www.worldkungfu.com/ and http://www.karateconnection.com/

 

 

(My heartfelt thanks to the forum member who is so helpful and sweet and too humble to let me to mention his name in this article...)

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Excellent material Holly.  You did a very good job on different aspects of female protection (or for men too.)  I am also glad that you posted "AWARENESS" as the first dicussion.  It plays into everything else we do.  There are so many points that could be developed from these and you rounded out the material very well.  Thanks for your hard work on this.  Also thanks to your associate in the Karate field.

 

Without sounding critical, there are two areas I would like to bring up as well as an additive to your work.  One, if an attack against your person takes place, it is vital to struggle with all your might to escape.  Do all you can to keep the attacker from taking you to a second location.  Very few people are ever found alive afterwards.  And secondly check the individual laws regarding the stun gun.  Some states prohibit the posession of one outside of your home.

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Well written Holly.

 

I wanted to add a point to this, but I am not exactly sure i have the idea/words formed in my mind quite right.

 

While times have changed, woman still remain the primary care givers of children. Being so, your awareness levels must include the idea (as ugly as it is) that YOU may NOT be the target of the personal safty issue Holly discussed, but your children. You must put aside any feeling of being "over bearing" or "over protective" when your radar or gut instinct (or guardian angel) warns you about someone you or your children are interacting with.

 

 

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Thanks, SK!

 

Mr.Coffee, you are SO right.  I think this issue deserves a whole write up on its own merit.  Since my daughter was little, I NEVER let her out of my sight while we were out.  When I had to pay for something, I tucked her between the counter and my legs to hold her right there!  She's 16 now, but I still watch over her pretty closely.

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Thanks Holly,

 

Yes I agree, child safty and awareness deserves its own write up, it is a very important topic. My boys are 7 and 10, and while I am protective of my smarter half (my better looking half, i.e. my wife), and my downright fanatically about my kids safty.

 

So since you volunteered Holly.......... I look forward to your child safty chapter :) :) :)

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LOL!  Okay, but I'm like you, downright fanatical!  I'm not sure all will agree with the level of safety awareness I think is acceptable!  :hugegrin:

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My wife is a second shift nurse and leaves the hospital at midnight. Parking lot in the middle of the night are scarey places for a woman alone.

Being aware and alert are always good. Stay in well lit areas if possible. The new cars with remote door locks are really handy devices especially if equipped with an alarm button. If confronted you can push this button and the car horn will start honking. The system also allows only the driver side door to be unlocked so someone jumping in the opposite door is blocked.The interrior lights come on also.

 

Ive told her to make your stand right there and dont let the assailant get the upper hand if at all possible. Ive told her to fold her arms in front of her and cover her face with her fists. Look for the chance to hit the assailant on the nose as hard as she can and start screamming as loud as she can.Maybe even gouge with her keys in the assailants face. As soon as she can get loose from this action RUN towards the building or towards a well lit area yelling and screamming all the time.

 

Will this work who knows but I can tell you this if you give in and let the attacker get the upper hand your chances arent going to be any better.Might as well make your stand right there.

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Thanks, guys!  Swede, I love how you are so protective of Mrs. Swede!  I'm sure it makes her feel special and loved!  It's great that you are aware of the potential dangers and help her to be aware too. 

 

Okay, next week, I'll be working on Child Safety Awareness!  Hopefully, I won't be too busy at work so I can do research... :woot:

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Guest wayne

I wrote a long addition to Holly's post.  I teach personal safety.  The forum said i didnt have permission.  It's now lost to the ether.  Oh well I am writing an article for a woman's travel club.  When complete I shall post it if the site allows.

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I wrote a long addition to Holly's post.  I teach personal safety.  The forum said i didnt have permission.  It's now lost to the ether.  Oh well I am writing an article for a woman's travel club.  When complete I shall post it if the site allows.

 

Please check your private messages Wayne.  Thanks - LOST

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Since writing this, I have been told by my aunt, who is a physician's assistant, that oven cleaner is a more effective means of defense against an attacker than pepper spray!

 

I'll have to keep a can next to my bed, next to my mini machete...:hugegrin:

 

And I have to figure out a way to fit a can of "Easy Off" in my little pocketbook! :woot: 

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Just remember this:  You don't have to be scared all the time or paranoid.  Just be aware.  And practice so that you can help yourself if the need arises.  :yes:

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Guest taken by the wind...

~ Holly... when I was in that tent with you, I kept my keys by me at night. My plan was that if anyone tried to sneak up on us, I'd hit my car alarm and wake up the entire campground.  :whistle:  It was my strategy I came up with while you slept.  :glare:

 

I do it at home sometimes. I'll keep my keys with me. They'll work from inside my house too. I figure no burglur wants to be sneaking around inside my house when a car horn is going off in the driveway.  scared011.gif

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Good one Taken! Another thing to consider is an Asp.  They are VERY effective.  But make sure to have a cop teach you where you can hit people with them.  This is a great tool to look into!!!

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Taken, I'm so glad you had a good plan!  Although I would have probably slept right through the car alarm going off...

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Girls if you are going out into the real world, pack, carry, train, exercise, spar, and have the mindset you will do it.

 

Train your hearing to sounds while asleep.

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