It’s Fathers day in Australia and I just had an interesting conversation with Natasha about an application on IOS called companion. It’s a personal safe application on your IOS that detects spurious event like your head phone lead being removed or you being shoved or falling and sets up an alarm. If the alarm isn’t canceled in 15 second then the alarm goes off and other safe actions are implemented like dialling a predetermined number etc. It even has a feature where you can share your location with a friend while you out and about so if anything happens they will know your last location. It sounded like a great application for personal safe.
Natasha asked me whether it would be a good application for her to use. I suggested it was probably better for older people with medial conditions and more likely to have a fall, that a young person like herself should be able to assess the risks around her and avoid them. After all how many times in her life had she been in need of an application like that and how many people did she know would have benefited from that type of assistance.
That’s where the conversation became interesting. She suggested it happens all the time, people get lost, girls are raped and people are mugged. I then countered with not all the time, there are very few muggins, rapes and missing people in comparison to the number of people going about their business each day. How many people do you know with actual first hand experience? “You” was her reply. You have been mugged and you know of girls who have been raped.
It’s true I’ve actually had a group of men try to mug me on the Gold Coast, one of my ex girl friend was raped and I’ve scared off an attacker in Sydney who had stabbed a woman in an attempt to rape her.
But I hadn’t been mugged, I sensed that something wasn’t quite right with the three men following me. Their attention, proximity and lack of conversation had alerted me. So when they made a move I was ready with a counter and managed to avoid being a victim.
The girls on the other hand hadn’t been aware that they were in danger, my ex girl friend had been drunk at a pub in Launceston and had accepted a ride home with a man she didn’t know. In her inebriated state things went from bad to worse very quickly and she didn’t have many options available to her to avoid what happened next.
The woman in Sydney was a neighbour in our street. She walked home each night from the train station at 10pm. It was only a 400 metres walk but the street was poorly lit. She took the same route each day and aways had her earphones on playing her favourite music loud enough to prevent her hearing someone approaching from behind.
My fiancé Alex and I were just getting into bed when we heard her blood curdling scream, a sound I don’t ever want to hear again. Knowing a scream like that meant real trouble I bolted from bed in my PJ’s and smashed through the front door. The sensor light immediately illuminated the front yard and part of the street out side. I could see two shapes, a man bending over another figure slumped on the ground. The man immediately started running up the street. I ran after him but he had 100 metres head start on a steep hill and I was in bare feet.
A teenager appeared on the street ahead of him and he jumped over a fence and disappeared. I yelled to the teenager to go after him but that was to much for a kid walking into a situation he didn’t understand. So the attacker got away. I turned and ran back to the girl who was being looked after by Alex. Other neighbours appeared and one of them called the police. The girl had a knife wound to her shoulder but was otherwise unharmed. The wound was treated by a paramedic and the police walked the woman home to her parents. We were all very shocked that something like that could happen on a suburban street in Sydney. But I couldn’t help feeling that it might have been avoided if the girl wasn’t wearing her headphones.
So I told Natash “It’s been my experience that a lot of the time situations could be avoided if people took more responsibility for their own safety and avoided getting themselves into a situation in the first place”. Which was like a red rage to a bull for Natasha and she countered with “So are implying that women who dress provocative are asking to be raped?”
I responded with well not exactly. Being a red blood male I very much enjoy women dressing well and putting themselves out their to be admired. I also enjoy women acting and dressing provocatively. It gets them a lot of attention and I believes makes them feel good about themselves. It also raises the sexual tension around them. Which illicit an emotional response from everyone witnessing it.
It’s all, good providing the people around them are respectful of their wishes and desires and visa versa. Unfortunately not everyone is respectful of others at all time, they can step over personal boundaries and ignore social norms if the desire takes them. People guide their behaviour by their own thoughts and beliefs filtered by social norms and their own moral code. It’s a very personal thing, what’s acceptable for one person may be total unacceptable for another or society as a whole. But we can’t control what others think, we can only control what we think. If we take action on a though we must take responsibility for those actions and the effect they have on others.
It’s not acceptable in society for someone to raped another person and we have punishments in place to deal with people who rape but punishment and social belief are not enough to prevent someone thinking about, desiring or possibly acting. Whether they do act on a desire or not is up to them. As with all crimes it comes down to motive (desire) and opportunity.
We have no control over a persons motivation, why they desires to do something is totally part of their own life experience and non of our business. However we have some control over their opportunity, for them to perpetrate an act against ourselves or others near by we will in someway provided an opportunity.
So its all well and good to dress provocatively as long as your aware of the effect your actions may be having on others and take those into consideration. Which requires that you remain aware and take precaution. Don’t get so drunk that you make poor decision, reman in a group of friends, vary your routine, its far better to prevent a situation from getting out of hand than the alternative of becoming a victim.
Of course your not always going to be able to perceive and therefore prevent every possible opportunity. So what do you do then? Well you could read my next post. Personal Safety Travelling – What to do when.
Make sure to leave a comment if you have any personal threat stories of your own. Special stories where your perceived something was wrong and took action to protect yourself or others around you.