Personal Safety Information

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RightHand, Feb 21, 2006.


  1. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    A few weeks ago, not more than 10 miles from where I live and play, a young woman was exiting the interstate late in the evening. On the exit there was a semi pulled over and the driver was flagging her down. She stopped, he grabbed her, pulled her into the cab of his truck, raped her, then pulled her into the surrounding woods, tied her to a tree and left her in the freezing temperature. After he left, her screams eventually attracted attention and, luckily, she was discovered. The perpetrator was caught this week and he is in custody.

    Earlier this week there was a case where a person with vehicular trouble was passed, over and over, and no one stopped to help which led the local news to decry the absence of caring strangers.

    These two events have been preying on my mind and I got to thinking about how often we suspend our common sense, our gut instincts, in favor of being a 'good neighbor.'

    Some of you may be aware that for many years, from the mid-1970 thru mid 1990s, I was a volunteer crisis counselor for a sexual assault center. Middle of the night calls to local emergency rooms was the norm, sometimes a couple times a week (We were 72 hrs on, 72 hrs off). I'm not an expert, but I do some knowledge and a lot of experience.

    One of the things I did was to conduct safety training programs. I did a series of programs in the local grammer school, the high school, in womens groups, and even one for a local police department.

    If there is an interest on the SM forum, I will put together some safety strageties which I can post in a series. Many people feel that if you are armed with a weapon, you can protect yourself but that may not be the case. Also, strageties differ men and women, children and adults.

    Surviving sexual assault transcends good times and SFTF times, gender, wealth, and just about anything else you may assume. If you feel this information may be of value to our SM community, let me know. Alternately, if anyone would like information more personally, I can email.
     
  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I figure it would defiantly be worth the space and time, even if it helps one person. I know I often will stop for folks stranded but then to with being a male 6'2" about 300 pounds and looking like Charles Manson helps some and then even I still make sure to have a gun or knife out of sight but VERY accessible 'just in case'.
     
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    YES. PLEASE POST THIS!

    Can't believe I missed this yesterday Dee.

    I think that this type of info would be invaluable to females and males.
    I'm going to stick this and do a general anounce if you want to post some more info.

    Thank You.
    [bow] [bow] [bow] [bow]
     
  4. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    Yes, definitely, I have tried to teach mine tactical awareness, how to recon a parking lot on a drive through, when NOT to stop or get out, but another viewpoint would help.
     
  5. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I''ll start this off with some very basic information and I will add some specifics as we go along. Even the basic stuff is important because it’s a springboard for thinking about the situations which arise in your lives and how to deal with them.

    Some of the information I will pass on to you may seem like a no-brainer, things we all know, but all too often, we become complacent as we go about our lives and forget that we are no different than anyone else – we are all the potential victim of some crime. Our job is to reduce that potential as much as possible. Its not pleasant always planning for the worst but it is our best protection.

    What is the most effective weapon against assault, sexual or otherwise? Avoid being vulnerable. Easily said, not always easily accomplished, but always the goal.

    Your first tool in avoiding vulnerability is alertness and awareness.
    - Be aware of your surroundings.
    - Be aware of your companions
    - Be aware of your avenues of escape
    - Be aware of your defenses

    First and foremost, always trust your gut, your instincts, and react accordingly as soon as you feel uncomfortable. Yes, you might sometimes be mistaken about a potential danger and your reactions might look foolish to others but a momentary embarrassment is a lot easier to survive than the effects of an assault.

    We all know that we should park in lighted areas at night, and always have our keys in hand before we leave a store. I have several key chains, without any ornaments, that have keys to one vehicle and the house. Another set carries keys for a different vehicle and the house, etc. My strategy is to have a key chain small enough to fit into the palm of my hand and day or night, I palm the keys with the longest one protruding between my index and middle fingers. Maybe not the most effective weapon but its better than nothing. Some people favor a large ball of keys that have mass and a lot of pointy ends. Whatever is most comfortable for you is what you should do.

    One of the scenerios I have been thinking about is mothers with young children. I know that Sniper66 and E.L. both have babies, maybe some others of you do also. The woman in this scenerio is in a parking lot with the back door of her vehicle open as she straps the baby into the car seat. She's distracted by the shopping bags in the cart, the squirming baby, the pacifier that just fell on the floor, the car seat strap that all of a sudden seems to short for the growing child. She's frustrated, distracted, exposed, and ultimately, in danger. The exercise is to think about how this woman can reduce her vulnerability while living this average, every day occurance. Practice what you would do if someone attached you at that moment - actually practice. Recreate the scene in your driveway with your partner playing the part of a perpetrator. Think, practice, think, practice, think, practice, until you feel you have a strategy in mind.
     
    Motomom34 likes this.
  6. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    We don't think of ourselves as a statistic but these take on more importance when we consider our personal safety strategies. They were obtained from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network).

    2004 Statistics
    In 2004, there were 209,880 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assaults according to the 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey (pdf).

    Of the average annual 204,370 victims in 2003-2004, about 65,510 were victims of completed rape, 43,440 were victims of attempted rape, and 95,420 were victims of sexual assault.

    Because of the methodology of the National Crime Victimization Survey, these figures do not include victims 12 or younger. While there are no reliable annual surveys of sexual assaults on children, (pdf) the Justice Department has estimated that one of six victims are under age 12.

    It's Not a Stranger Hiding in the Bushes [​IMG]

    Contrary to the belief that rapists are hiding in the bushes or in the shadows of the parking garage, almost two-thirds of all rapes were committed by someone who is known to the victim. 67% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger – 47% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 17% were an intimate and 3% were another relative.
    National Crime Victimization Survey, 2004

    Rapes Still Not Being Reported
    The National Crime Victimization Survey includes statistics on reported and unreported crimes in America. Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, with more than half still being left unreported. Utilizing services such as The National Sexual Assault Hotline can help encourage victims to get help and report what has happened to them so that more perpetrators can be brought to justice.

    [​IMG]

    Young females are four times more likely than any other group to be the victims of sexual assault, and the least likely to report their victimization.
     
  7. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    If you are among those who consider your weapon, firearm or blade, as one of your strategies for safety and defense, keep in mind the statistic above - 67% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger. While it is comforting to think that if we are armed, we are safer but that is true only if you know how to effectively use the weapon and are willing to do it.

    Are you prepared to use your weapon against someone other than a stranger and if so, at what point to do elect to do so.

    This question bears a lot of thought because it's not an easy question and the answer is a very individual thing. Remember, the perpetrator may think they know your answer to this question.

    More later
     
  8. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    BINGO. You are on the money there. This is going to be really good for us.
     
  9. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    In the scenerio of the mother and child in the parking lot, there are a couple easy things that can be done to increase safety.

    First, for me, I would load my groceries into the vehicle first, In the event of a carjacking which has become prevalent in parking lots, I wouldn't want my child in the vehicle without me. In just the past year in Connecticut alone, there have a half dozen cases of children being taken with the carjacked vehicle leaving the screaming and terrified mother to watch her child being raced away with a criminal. The children in our state were all recovered safely but that was by the grace of God.

    I would load the groceries and packages into the trunk where I have installed several small round convex stickup mirrors at various angles giving me a full view in all direction of what was occuring behind me.

    I would also stick a few of these small mirrors inside the car placed strategically so I could have some powers of observation of my surroundings.

    Rather than opening the rear door and leaning in to install the baby in the car seat, I would take the child in my arms and climb into the rear seat, shutting and locking the doors before I attempted to settle the baby. If you happen to have a minivan, this maneuver is easily accomplished and much less stressful on both mother and child. If it's summer time, it may be necessary to stand outside of the car for a few minutes with the doors open to let some of the heat escape but if you are just standing and waiting, you can be attentive to your surroundings and passers-by.

    These small little mirrors can be purchased at a variety of boating and RV supply stores for a few dollars each. Example - http://www.campingworld.com/browse/...D=5&subOf=43,338&prodID=4436&affiliateID=1126 I happen to have lots of them installed all over the place, in the cars, the garage, outside entryway to the house, etc.

    The theme of this strategy is to be able to observe what is outside your direct line of vision and behind you. Be alert - Be aware - Be vigilent
     
  10. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Common Goods As Self-Defense Weapons

    By Lost Johnny

    We are never unarmed, we can always use something as a weapon. This article is dedicated to use common goods as a self-defense weapons.

    One of the most popular ordinary things being used for self-defense is undoubtedly the simple pen. It has several advantages: absolute legality, small size, and, that is the most important, pen is usually not considered as a potential weapon by attackers, so you can carry it openly, attached to your front pocket. The simple pen looks harmless enough, but you can use it successfully as relatively powerful weapon.

    As a self-defense weapon, pen can be used like a dagger or a stiletto. Use a pen to stab assailant’s body/chest/neck. If he continues with the attack, you can also use your pen to give him an eye gouge. Alternatively, you can use your pen to stab his groin as many times as you can - then escape! You can also apply pen to break body grips.

    Nail file is being widely used as a women’s self-defense weapon. The defense tactics with a nail file are quite similar to those with a pen: quick stabs at an attacker’s face, eyes, neck, groin.

    Umbrella – can be successfully used as a cane, striking the header and wave strokes to an assailant’s body. It allows to block enemy’s hits and edged weapon attacks. Umbrella with a handle of a bent (Ã-like) shape one may use as a tonfa.

    Hair spray/ air freshener/ deodorant spray can also become self-defense weapon. Spray them in an assailant’s eyes; the aerosol’s components act as an irritants, cause short-timed enemy’s blindness and disorientation. There’re known some facts about another spray use possibility: spray aerosol on an attacker’s body or face and light by a cigarette lighter. Ordinary household spray turns into the small but harmful flame-thrower.

    Computer cable with a massive plug-and-socket at the end one may use as a flexible chain-like weapon. This improvised weapon allows to keep self-defender at a distance from an attacker and strike intense blows.

    It’s not hard to find a stone (or a brick/solid piece of asphalt) in the street and use it as a defensive weapon. Stones serve people as a weapons since prehistoric times and are being used by a modern street fighters as before. There’re two different ways of use of stone in a battle: use it as a missile weapon throwing at assailant and use it as impact weapon squeezed in your fist. The first way is actually not very efficient, but allows to keep defender at a distance from his enemy; the second is potentially more successive, but compels self-defender to come into close combat. Strike quick and powerful blows at an assailant’s head. If you want to win, your stone-fighting technique must be utterly cruel and brutal.

    Glass bottle (for beer, whisky, vine, etc.) is known as popular street weapon. Bottle is usually used as baton striking opponent’s head. Often even one strong blow upon somebody’s head is quite enough to put him out of action. Then the bottle breaks, it transforms to a very dangerous and impressive weapon – the neck with a lot of very sharp and non-uniform ends.

    Plastic bottle with water – can be used as a baton which usually doesn’t break.

    The overall efficiency of this improvised weapon depends on its weight (the volume of water it contains). Plastic bottle with 3 and more pints of water is really powerful weapon. Moreover, it usually doesn’t leave a visible traces of strokes on its victims’ bodies. Due to this feature, some police officers use such batons for inflicting torture on suspect people.

    Metal electric torch (Mag Lite type) is versatile tool, being used not only for lighting, but for self-defense purposes. Many police officers and security guards use it as a metal baton. This tool is suitable for striking short and quick blows on an opponent’s head, shoulders and hands, short-distance header blows on a face, neck and groin, for blocking enemy’s attacks.

    Self-Defense Zone
     
  11. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    While online searching for an article I had read about reacting to intrusions into your 'personal space, I came across a fantastic publication - The Seven Steps to Personal Safety by Richard Isaacs and Tim Powers. It is available in print for $14.95 but you can also download the pre-publication version in pdf format - The Seven Steps

    I downloaded it and it is filled with information. The down load version is 2.5 mb, 259 pages but worth every minute you will spend reading it. It's probably the most comprehensive publication I have ever found presented in an easy to read and easy to digest format.

    Please take the time to read this because it will make a difference in the way you prepare and the way you react to danger. This one is a winner.
     
  12. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    "Put locks on your fuse, circuit breaker, and electrical panels."

    This is one of the safety tips in Seven Steps to Personal safety that I had never thought of before.
     
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  13. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    "Don’t sit near the cash register in bars and restaurants, as these are the most likely places for robberies. Instead, sit near a service exit if possible. This will allow you to make a break for the kitchen, and then out the back door, in case of an emergency."

    Another safety tips in Seven Steps to Personal Safety
     
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  14. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    [bestpost]
     
  15. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Now for another every day scenerio we all encounter.

    It's time to have the furnace cleaned. Since we all try to cram as much as we can into every day, we call the fuel service company on our cell phone while on our way to work.

    #1 - We have used a cell phone to communicate personal information - our name, address, a phone number where we can be reached, and the fact that we will admit the service person to our home and when.

    #2 - When the service person arrives, we rarely ask for identification since we have called for the service.

    #3 - We let the service person in the front door. Sitting on the entry table is our mail (with full identifying information) and maybe a set of keys which could be easily picked up by the serviceman without us noticing

    #4 - We lead the service person to the furnace, he follows us and we aren't observing him, his action, or his interest in our surroundngs. He is behind us and we are vulnerable

    #5 - When we get to the furnace, usually in the basement, we leave him to do his work, while we wash the dishes, talk on the phone, watch TV, work on the computer. Once again, this stranger has full, unemcumbered access to this part of our home. How easy would it be for him to unlock the cellar door or the cellar window for later entry.

    #6 - Unless we have properly prepared, this person will know our name, phone number, and address, that we are alone (or alone with children) at this time of day or maybe always. He will know if we do or do not have a dog or an alarm system. He will know if there is basement entry into the house. He will know the layout of the house. And probably more if he is so inclined.

    So, this everyday event has exposed us to danger in many ways because we didn't take the steps necessary to protect ourselves.

    Never use a cell phone or cordless phone to communicate personal information.

    Always ask for company identification before you admit anyone. Not only are you verifying the persons affiliation with the company, you are noting his name should that be necessary in the future. Between his name and appearance, you are creating a profile of this stranger.

    Never leave mail or keys in the open. Have a specific drawer for these away from the entryway preferrable in one of the private rooms of our home.

    Walking behind the serviceperson, direct him to the location of the furnace or water heater, or whatever. You walk behind him and be observant of anything that may be attracting his attention.

    Since you have prepared, every area of your home has some form of a defensive weapon available to you but either inconspicuous or non-traditional. Stay with the workman while he is servicing your problem. Don't take phone calls or start a load of laundry or anything else. Your attention should be focused on this stranger in your home.

    If you are a female living alone, make sure your basement is filled with visible men's clothing, large boots, assorted gender specific articles which give the appearance of a male presence in the home. Keep the conversation in context of the work he is doing and don't get involved in personal chit chat. You don't have to be unfriendly, but you don't have to be personal. This is a business transaction and he is not your friend.

    When he leaves, you walk behind him as you escort him to the door which you firmly close and lock behind him and then, from a window, you watch him drive away.

    This may all seem very harsh but the more you commit yourself to self protection, the easier it is to think in terms of your safety first. Never apologize for protecting yourself.
    Be Aware - Be Alert - Be Vigilent
     
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  16. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    This is something important to think about and important to discuss with our children of driving age. Our children are more trusting of the world.

    You are driving at night on a dark road in an unpopulated area. In your mirror you see the dreaded flashing lights approaching from behind. Your first thought is "Oh s***" Your brain quickly tries to think what you may have done wrong and comes up with nothing. Do you stop on the spot?

    First off, this is not a legal opinion but a safety opinion based on the knowledge that not every vehicle with a light bar is driven by a police officer. In rural areas, all volunteer firemen have flashing blue lights and department officers (chief and asst chief) have light bars. This isn't to imply that volunteer firemen are intent on harming you, just that light bars are available and can be used against you.

    Would I stop? NO. While continuing at the speed limit, I would use my cell phone to call 911. I would give them my license plate number and location and explain that I will stop when I reach a populated area which is well lit. If you are in a familiar area, I would give them a location where I will stop - ie "at Jones Market on Hgw 18"

    Will I get a ticket for failure to stop - maybe but that's a minor problem when you consider what could happen if the vehicle is not a police officer.
     
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    RH, don't stop with this thread, it is being read and appreciated. If nothing else, it's reminding us of things we forget about every day.
     
  18. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Thanks ghrit. A substantial part of safety strategies is thinking about sceneios which we encounter on a daily basis, what potential danger they present, and what actions we can take to increase our odds of avoid or escaping harm. It's mental preparation
     
  19. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    Wow RH, I thought I was careful, but i could have been dead or worse many times.

    Thanks going to have to rethink my safety measures
     
    Motomom34 likes this.
  20. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    RH one question I didn't understand you said never use a cellphone to place these calls, why
     
    3cyl likes this.
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