Due to the recent apparent abduction of the young mother in Michigan, I felt that I should offer some tips for women to help keep them safe from harm and also give them some suggestions on what to do to fight back.

Perpetrators always look for places of opportunity and this may include  places where potential victims may be alone, where there are no potential eyewitnesses, lack of video cameras, poorly lite areas, often times occurring at night time, and a perceived notion by the perpetrator that the intended victim is weak, vulnerable, or unable or unwilling to formulate any resistance.  These animals rule by fear and intimidation, they are cowards, who prey on those people, least able to protect themselves, against an attack.

There are reasons that women are easy targets for random acts of violence and you need to develop habits that reduce that risk of being abducted, sexually assaulted, or killed.

 

Never ever take a job at a gas station, restaurant, bar, fast food joint, truck stop, or convenience store where you are ever working alone and /or are expected to “close” up for the night or work through the night.  The same applies if you are asked to “open” a business and you are alone while doing so.  Your best defense against attack is having co-workers present and preferably, some who are male.

Remember “Body Language”- try to give off the appearance of a woman who is strong, confident, loud, boisterous, and mean.  One who is willing to kick ass and take names.  It is more about how you present yourself to others, than necessarily your ability.  Keep your head up, swing your arms, stand up straight, and appear to be looking straight ahead.  Do not portray yourself as a victim or someone who is wounded.  I call these types of people…wounded warriors.  They never look anyone directly in the face, they walk with their head down and look at the floor or ground, they tend to slouch or their bodies appear to be folding in on itself, and they tend to walk alone or tend to trail others, if in a group.

Be aware of your surrounds at all times. Be hypersensitive to your gut feelings and always follow them.  If you do not feel comfortable…get out of there.  When getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.  If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the opposite door.  Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans, while the women are attempting to get into their cars. Also, this is a good practice to never park next to any vans.  Do not forget about the car parked on the other side of your vehicle, check it out also.  If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to escort you to your vehicle.  It is always better to be safe.  Never think that you are being foolish or unreasonable. I would rather have you be a little paranoid than become a victim of violence, or dead.  When walking to your car, have your remote in your hand and know how to turn on your car’s alarm from a distance, to activate your horn.

Don’t put yourself in the wrong place and/or wrong time.  Never ever drive through a bad neighborhood or walk through a poorly lite area, especially alone.  Always meet up with friends in areas that you know are safe and full of other people.  I can walk down any street in downtown Chicago, at night, and feel relatively safe, due to the presence of other people, but there are places in my hometown that I would not venture into, day or night.

Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit there (doing their checkbook, or making a list, or putting on makeup, or texting on a cell phone etc.) Never ever do this, wait until you are safely home to do this. A predator could be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. As soon as you get in your car, lock all doors, and leave the area.

Never take the same routes home or to work.  Do not create an established pattern of behavior or travel.  Beware of the other cars around you, as you travel, and note colors and makes of vehicles, if you feel that the same vehicle is following you, make some consistent right turns and see if it continues to follow you.  When doing this, make sure that you do not put yourself in a dead end street or in an area that you can be boxed in.  If you feel that you are being followed, use your cell phone, and call the police.  Never go anywhere without your cellphone, it could be your only lifeline.

As a woman, stop being sympathetic and in a hurry to assist and help others, especially if you are alone with a potential victim.  It may not be him who is ultimately the victim, it could be you.  It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well-educated man, who always played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.  If someone, specifically, asks you for help, especially when other persons are in the general area, ask yourself…why me?

 

This is the story of a friend’s daughter, who came out of the mall and was walking to her car when she noticed 2 older ladies in front of her.  Then she saw a police car come towards her with officers who said hello.  She also noticed that all the handicap spots in the area were empty.   As she neared her car, she saw a man a few rows over calling to her for help.  He wanted her to close his passenger side door.  He was sitting in the driver’s side, and said he was handicapped.  He continued calling, until she turned and headed back to the mall, and then he began cursing at her.  In the meantime, she wondered why he didn’t ask the 2 older ladies, or the policeman for help, and why he was not parked in any of the empty handicap spots. As she got back to the mall, two male friends of hers were exiting, and as she told them the story, and turned to point at the car, the man was getting out of the back seat into the front, and the car sped away. Do not let something like this cause you harm.

Always take the elevator, instead of the stairs.  (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect place to grab someone, unobserved.)   Do not get on an elevator if there is a weirdo already on there.  (Of course, not all perpetrators are men who look bad.)  Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator, but stand near the front, by the doors, and be ready to get off or on. If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the weirdo gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on.  Don’t ride the elevator with him, if you are not comfortable.  Remember your gut.

If a predator has a gun, but you are not under his control or confinement, always run away.  The odds are that even if he fires the gun at you, it’s unlikely that he will be able to hit you, and even if the shot does hit you, it is likely not going to hit a vital organ.  Even trained law enforcement would find it hard to hit a running target, even if they are weapons certified.  If I had to guess the odds, I would have to say no more than single digits out of one hundred times.  Also, ask yourself what will be the result, if I don’t run.

Always keep your distance, when walking past strangers on the street and avoid dark areas.

If you are walking alone in the dark (which you shouldn’t be doing) and you find him following or chasing you: Scream fire not help; people don’t want to get involved when people yell “help” but “fire” draws attention because people are nosy.  While you are screaming, also run.  Find an obstacle, such as a parked car, and run around it, like “Ring around the Rosie.” This may sound silly, but people have saved their lives by doing so.  Your last hope is getting under the car.  Once you are under there, there are tons of things to hold onto, and he will not be able to get you out and will, most likely, not come under the car for you, in fact, they usually they give up by this point. The catch here is that you have a plan and must practice getting under the car.  You must practice this so that you know if you will be going on your back or your front, and are going under the vehicle from the side or from the back or front of it.

 

The following is some tips to saving your life, if you have gotten into a violent situation:

React immediately.  For example, if he abducts you in a parking lot, and is taking you to an abandoned area, do not let him get you there.  If you are driving, crash your car while going at a low rate of speed.  Make sure to have your seat belt on and hope that he does not.  The air bag at worst may give you a bloody nose and hopefully, he face-plants himself against the windshield.  If he’s driving, find the right time, and stick your fingers in his eyes. He must watch the road, so choose an unsuspecting time, and gouge him. It is your chance to put him on the defensive.  Remember, he wants to be in control, take that control away from him.  While he is in shock, get out of the vehicle. This may seem gross to you to stick your fingers in someone’s eyes, but the alternative is worse, if you do not act.

Always resist.  Don’t go along with him: Run, if you are able: Do not ever give up…you do not want to become a crime scene.

Make every effort to avoid break downs, by keeping your car in good working order. If your car does break down:  The first thing is lock your doors.  Use your cellphone to immediately call for help.  You should keep a blanket, warm clothes, a pair of boots, and a flashlight in your car always, for emergencies.

If it’s daytime on a business day, you may want to put your hazards on and walk to safety. If it’s the middle of the night, put on your warm clothes, and walk to a lighted area. You are a perfect target if you are sitting in your car, broken down. Predators search the highways for easy targets like you.

If you’re on a desolate road: walk away from the car (in your warm clothes) and go to some bushes, or some area away from your vehicle. It will be cold, and uncomfortable, but you do not want to stay in your car, and become a target.  There is no way that a predator waiting in the bushes, who knew you were going to break down right there.  But, he could happen upon your vehicle, with you still in it.

As I stated earlier, always have a cellphone with you, and for people with children or lower incomes, there are cheap phones with emergency dial out capability.
If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This can save your life.

It’s a good idea to take a self-defense course, but you need to practice it until the moves involved become second nature.  If you have not done so yet, here are a few tips:

  1. Like I said earlier, the eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body. Poke him there as hard as you can.
  2. The neck is also a vulnerable spot, but you need to know where to grip, and you must possess the strength to cut off his air supply.  An easy approach would be to punch him in the throat to cut off his air supply.  Another area of the head, that elicits a lot of pain when struck, is the nose, and it bleeds, fairly easily and often times, very copiously.
  3. The last place is the knees. Everyone’s knees are very vulnerable, and a swift kick here will take anyone down.

When you do these types of strikes, you do not want to do them half-heartedly because you will get the individual angry and he will take that anger out on you.  I am not saying don’t do this because this may be your only chance to survive this ordeal.  Also, if you are untrained in using your hands in self-defense, if you are close enough to use them, than use your elbow to strike someone.  It is by far, one of the strongest and hardest weapons in your little bag of tricks.

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