The following article is a short introduction to a few areas of self-protection. Violent crime is on the rise and can happen anywhere at anytime. This is by no means a complete article on the subject and is, in fact, only the tip of the iceberg but hopefully it may make you think about looking after yourself
Awareness – the golden rule
The most important aspect of self-protection is awareness. Good awareness coupled with good decision making will keep you safe on most occasions. This is easily said but more times than not isn’t realised or is forgotten about.
There are ways of practicing awareness that will take too long to go into here but my advice is to slow down and do not get involved in your own little world. Keep your head up and look at what is happening around you.
When going out let someone know where you are going and when you will be back, if something were to happen at least you would be missed and the relevant authorities could be called. Avoid putting yourself at risk to save time or money. Do not use a shortcut to get somewhere on time, it is better to arrive late than not at all.
If you are walking home at night try not to do so alone, carry a personal alarm that is easily accessible, or better still in your hand.
Whilst it should be your right to walk where you want and when you want, that is not the reality of society today.
Your person is more important than your material possessions, give these up rather than get yourself injured or killed to protect them. Be careful when using your mobile phone in public, these are a great target for muggers nowadays. Be especially careful at cash points, it is obvious why you are there and a would be attacker can loiter and watch from a distance easily.
In the car
Make sure you know where you are going on a journey and that you have sufficient fuel and that the car is in good working order, have breakdown cover in case of a emergency. As above, make sure people know of your journey times and let them know when you arrive safely. Take some blankets and emergency food and water especially when traveling at night or in the winter.
Drive with your doors locked and when stopping the car always make sure you can see the bottom of the wheels of the vehicle in front. This will give you room to manoeuver if needs be.
Keep your valuables out of sight and try not to open your windows more than two inches. When parking make sure that it is in a well lit area and make sure the car is left in a way where a quick getaway is possible.
If possible sit near the driver or groups of other passengers.
When using taxis try and use black cabs and never let a minicab pick you up from the street. If calling for a cab do not be afraid to ask for a woman driver or ask for the name of the driver who will be doing your run. Check their credentials. If you feel at all uneasy about the situation, do not get into the cab.
Generally someone will only attack you if they are confident of victory. Attackers do not want a fuss caused as this will hamper their chances of a successful mugging/rape. If you make yourself a hard target by walking tall, being aware and moving quickly, there is less chance that you will be attacked than if you are lost in your own world chattering on your mobile phone/daydreaming etc.
If you are attacked
Giving advice on what to do when attacked is not easy. Some people prefer to capitulate whilst others will fight back with all their might. The only person who can decide what to do is you. It is your right to be able to physically defend yourself with reasonable force. Unfortunately the law does not tell you what reasonable is and it is judged on a case by case basis. You are however allowed to strike first as long as you have exhausted every other option to you and are in fear of your own safety.
Research has shown that even if a physical defence has failed, the victim has recovered better and more quickly than if nothing has been done.
If an attacker promises that you will be OK if you do something or travel to another location with them, do not believe them. It may seem obvious but these people are not trustworthy and how can going to a second location, probably quiet and secluded, help you?
The truth is that in an attack the body will produce a massive cocktail of chemicals and the adrenal dump will be huge. You will not be able to remain calm and cool and think straight. That is not the time to consider your personal safety, that time is NOW.
It is easy to read this document and then put it to the back of your mind or worse still be one of the millions who think ‘it will never happen to me’. If that is you, I urge you to read Merlyn Nuttal’ book ‘It could have been you’ about her how she was raped and nearly murdered on her way to work..
Three other books I would recommend on the subject are
- ‘Dead or Alive’ by Geoff Thompson
- ‘Streetwise’ by Peter Consterdine
- ‘Dogs don’t know kung fu’ by Jamie O’KeefeIf you would like any further information please contact me or your local police station.