Following on from my previous post Personal Safety Travelling – Things to consider where I was talking to Natasha about personal safety while travelling. She had become quite upset that I believed we have some control over whether we enable ourselves to become victims in certain situations in life. Mostly worried that I thought “That women who dress provocative where asking to be raped?” Read the previous post to find out what my views are on that subject. If you want to hear how the conversation continued read on, Natasha has obviously been considering her safety as we travel and wanted to know who or how she could protect herself.
“But won’t the police protect me?”
Their presence will help deter someone from committing and act if they believe they may get caught and they will of course prevent a rapist from raping again if they catch them after the first act. But until someone has don’t something there is very little the police can do to help you, its up to you to look after yourself.
So what’s the best self-defence I can learn, karate, jujitsu, boxing?
It’s always good to know a few moves just in case things get out of your control and someone gets to close, but its been my experience that once an issue escalates to that level there is seldom a good outcome. You risk getting seriously hurt or seriously hurting the other person. Neither is a good result. Unless the situation is truly spontaneous your attacker has generally put more thought into their actions than you and are therefore prepared to do what it take to be successful. Like the woman in our street the man attacking her had a knife. If she hadn’t have screamed so loud the situation may have been a whole lot worse for her.
The strategy I use when travelling to keep us all safe and so far used successfully the rest of my life are as follow:
- look at people looking at you, using your peripheral vision,
- notice anyone moving towards you or shadowing you,
- look them straight in the eye if they approach you directly and be prepared to run,
- be wary of commotion around you, commotion can be a cover,
- be wary of people approaching your with something to offer, don’t let them touch you,
- as a rule don’t trust anyone who is overly friendly, develop a fake friendship detector.
distance is the best protection
If you notice anything that you don’t like move away its better to be further away it reduces their options. Move to the other side of the street and change directions often. Move towards crowded places your more likely to be safer in a crowd but keep your wits about you, its easier for a person to get closer in a crowd. Keep moving and find a policeman or guard or business lobby
attract someone else’s attention to your plight
- call out
- wave your hands and look really agitated
run hard enough to get away but not too hard – adrenaline can be your worse enemy
Really you only have to stay 3-5 paces in front of your attackers. Start off fast and hard and don’t look back and breath, try to settle your fear so you can think. If they chase you and your not caught in the first 2-3 minutes they will probably give up. Even if they do catch up they will be too exhausted to do much. Use the opportunity to scream and fight.
a last resort fight
If you decide to fight go in hard and I mean hard, most people loose fights because they go in too soft worried abut hurting the other person or themselves. If you have decided to fight, fight to win at any cost. The chances are your ferocious assault will give you an advantage, use it.
Be ready for the fall, your going to end up on the ground so bring them down with you. Don’t worry to much about punching, slapping of hitting while your standing most of us can’t do anything with our arms and hands that will seriously incapacitate another person. Instead hold onto them and kick, hard and often and bite. Bite fingers, ears and nose or anywhere you can get your teeth into. Bite as hard as you can and throw your head around it will cause more pain.
Aim for the soft spots, groin, solar plexus, eyes, arm pits and neck when you kick, punch or scratch. With a bit of luck you will fight your attacker off. If that’s not the case, fight as hard as you can and do as much damage as you can. Their injuries will make them easier to identify and the chances are they didn’t envisage getting hurt themselves in the attack and it will change their motivation quite quickly.
These are my tactics for detecting and dealing with trouble. They have been quite successful at keeping myself and my family safe. I haven’t needed to fight since I was in my early thirties and I was partly to blame in that situation because I didn’t run. A blokes ego can be a problem. I’m tall and strong and I’ve had some fighting experience so when my attacker got to near I didn’t run and opted to fight instead. He was a smaller man high on drugs I was lucky to get a strong gripe on him before he attempted a head but or I’d have gone down for sure. I expect that another thing too beware, people who are drunk or high can be very unpredictable.
I’d love to hear how other people deal with personal safety while traveling, we are always putting ourself and our family in to an unknown situations, 99.9% of the time the risk is far less than driving a car, but you just don’t know. How do you stay safe?