Marked for Mayhem

Most street criminals are selective about their victims. Unfortunately - and unknowingly - many of us could be giving off signals that mark us as targets. In a classic study conducted bin 1981 by researchers Betty Grayson and Morris I. Stein, it was revealed how predators seek out certain characteristics in their prey. In the study, 12 incarcerated violent offenders where asked to watch a black and white video tape of approxximately 60 pedestrains walking down the sidewalk in New York City. The convicts were asked to rate the pedestrians based on who they thought made an easy target or desirable victim.

Interestingly enough, almost all of them had identified the same pedestrians. The selections did not appear to be based on age, race, size, or gender. Determined to learn why these people were targeted, researchers conducted a more thorough analysis of the body language of those people selected in the video. Using a coded study of body movement that focused on 21 body movement types, researchers noted some of the specific features that were targeted by convicts. 

Here is some of the exploitation factors noted:

  • Exaggerated stride (long or short) while walking

  • Slower-than average sstride, or a very rapid pace which projected fear

  • The swing of the arms NOT consistent with natural body mechanics

  • Awkwardness in body movement, lacking a fluid motion'

  • A slumped posture and appearing unaware of surroundings

  • A lack of eye contact, which gave an appearance of submissiveness

  • Neutral or fearful facial expressions, also gave an appearance of submissiveness

Self-defense strategy suggests:

  • Walk upright with intention and purpose

  • Avoid being distracted by cell phone or music device

  • If you are lost, quickly obtain directions from a safe location - don't wander

  • Walk at a moderate pace, not too fast or too slow

  • Make eye contact with those you encounter - when you break eye contact look left and right, avoid looking down (viewed as a sign of submissiveness

  • Happy or even angry facial expressions cocnveyed dominance and self control

Simply being aware of your surrounding and staying alert can give you vital reaction time if confronted with a threatening situation.

Survival Mindset

Developing a Survival Mindset is critical to any plan for survival when faced with violence. The method used to help us develop this mindset is known as VMR - Visualized Motor Rehearsal or being the master of our own thoughts. VMR is a tool that helps us prepare the mind and body for either an event or a crisis, because preparation and rehearsal are the keys to a successful outcome.

" What you think - You become. What you feel - You attract. What you imagine - you create."   -BUDDHA

Studies were completed on NASA's astronauts and Olympians alike. They were connected to sophisticated biofeedback equipment and ran through some VMR or imaginary visual events in their minds. What was discovered was the mind does not distinguish whether you are really doing the event or merely thinking about it. As it turns out our thoughts are real in the sense that they cause biological and physiological effects on the body.  In performing VWR the astronauts and Olympians increased performance in their real-time situations.

VMR can be performed most anywhere and as often as you like. I call it the "WHAT IF" game. So how does it work?

 

While you are in a relaxed state of mind, you can start to visualize what steps you might take in any given situation that you encounter. For example, your making a withdrawal at the ATM - "WHAT IF" someone entered behind you? This mindsetting game can calm your nerves during an actual event that you might encounter, give you different scenerios to imagine and work through, as well as being an aide in success to any of these give situations.

Playing the "WHAT IF" game in every imaginable way, everyday and see yourself  being victorious throught each situation! There are NO - " I don't know" answers here, figure out what you would or would not do to protect yourself, then play that scenerio over and over again, being more victorious with each encounter.

                                               Our thoughts are very powerful. "As we think, so shall we be."

Trust Your Instincts

One way to avoid a potential attack before it happens is to trust your instincts. Your intuition, combined with common sense, can help get you out of trouble. For example, if you are walking to your car alone and you suddenly feel like someone is watching you that would be your intuition telling you something is not right. Using your common sense along with the skills you’ll learn today will prepare you to avoid these situations and protect yourself.

                                                                       

 

Reduce Your Risks

  • Understand your surroundings. Walk or park in areas that are open, well lit, and heavily traveled.

  • Avoid areas where people could hide – such as alleys, dark stairwells, bushes and parked vans.

  • If you’re going out at night, travel in groups.

  • Make sure friends and loved ones know your daily routines (work, exercise classes, club events/meetings). When regular routines change or you’re running late, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.

  • Be sure you’re “put together”- your body language shows a sense of confidence, you look like you know where you’re going and act alert.

  • Carry a cell phone. Program in 911.

 

 

 

Use Your Head

 

You don’t want to get into a fist fight or become knocked unconscious by an attacker. The attacker, who is already pumped up on adrenaline has a plan and the element of surprise on his side. The best way to handle any attack situation is to de-escalate a situation. Do whatever it takes to prevent a situation from getting worst.

 

The classic example of de-escalation is giving a robber your packages or money rather than trying to fight.

Your main goal is to get away unharmed.

Safety Guidelines

Basic Safety

  • Always be physically and mentally prepared to run or escape an attacker, or as a last resort, to fight back.

  • Have a plan of action and keep it simple.

  • There are no absolutes and nothing will work in every situation; but a good plan of action that may be as simple as running and screaming for help, can significantly improve your chances of escape.

  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.

  • Be put together! Walk confidently, keeping aware of the people in front of you, behind you and to your sides.

  • Always trust your instincts, if you feel something is wrong, act on your feelings.

  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

  • If you feel that you are in danger, never feel awkward or embarrassed about enlisting the help of others.

  • If someone attempts to rob you with a weapon, try to keep very calm and do not make any quick movements. Cooperate with the predator by giving them any valuables they may be demanding from you.

  • If someone attempts to force or con you into going with them, turn and run while screaming at the top of your lungs for help.

 

 

Car Safety

  • Park in well lit areas.

  • Back your car into the parking space.

  • Always lock your car after entering it and leaving it.

  • Carry your key chain in your hand.

  • If you break down or have trouble with your car, pull off the road, if possible, activate your emergency flashers, and immediately call for help with your cell phone. Remain in the car with its windows up and doors locked until you are absolutely positive that it is safe to exit the vehicle, in which case you would leave your hood up and get back in it until help arrives.

  • If you are being harassed by anyone in another vehicle or you feel you are being followed, use your cell phone to report the incident, and drive to the nearest populated service station, strip mall or police station, and honk your horn for help.

  • Should someone attempt to carjack your vehicle while you are getting in or out of it, throw your keys in one direction and run in the other direction. Just like money or valuables, if they come after you instead of the car, then you will know it was you they were really after to start with and you need to do whatever it takes to not be taken hostage.

 

ATM Safety: Robberies against consumers using ATMs are one of the fastest growing crimes.

 
  • Most banking with ATMs is done between the hours of 6:30 pm to 4:00 am.

  • Most ATM robberies occur at night between 6:30 pm and midnight.

  • ATMs only handle 12% of the total banking transactions but experience over 60% of the crimes.

Protective Countermeasures
  • Memorize your pin number.

  • Try to do all you’re banking during daylight hours.

  • Only use ATM machines in well-lighted, open, high-traffic areas, such as inside malls or busy markets.

  • Avoid bank ATM machines that are near obvious hiding places like shrubbery or overgrown trees. ATM robbers like to have the element of surprise and no witnesses.

  • Should you be robbed, do not resist and give up the cash immediately.

 

 

Home Safety

  • Change the locks when moving to a new home or when a tenant moves out.

  • If you live alone, have a male friend or relative record your voice message on your answering machine.

  • Trim down bushes and trees blocking any doors and windows of your house.

  • Keep the exterior of your home well lit.

  • Equip all doors and windows with good locking devices.

  • When doors are locked, you should have an easy way to see and communicate with the person on the other side.

  • Install an alarm system.

  • User timers to turn on your lights, radio and television.

  • Draw window shades and drapes when there is a need to turn on lights inside your home.

  • Get a dog.

  • Avoid putting your name on your mailbox or home

Rape + Resources

Rape

 

When most people think of rape, they imagine a stranger jumping out of nowhere and sexually assaulting them. But it doesn’t have to be a stranger, in fact one half of all people who are raped know the person who attacked them.

 

Protecting Yourself

 

  • Avoid isolated places.

  • Don’t spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • Stay sober and aware.

  • Go out with in a group.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel uneasy or threatened.

  • Don’t be afraid of looking silly

Alcohol and Drugs                                                   

 

Alcohol is often involved in attacks. Drinking can loosen inhibitions, dull common sense, and in some people it allows aggressive tendencies to surface.

Be aware of your surroundings; use your common sense, instincts and intuition.

Getting Help

 

Unfortunately, even if someone takes every precaution, rape can still occur. If you are victimized, here are some things that you need to do:

 

  • Call the police.

  • Preserve all the physical evidence. Don’t change your clothes or wash.

  • If you are injured, go straight to the emergency room.

  • Write down as much as you can remember about the event.

  • Call a friend or family member, or find someone close by to help you.

 

Rape isn’t just physically damaging – it can be emotionally traumatic as well. Talking with a trained crisis counselor can give you the right emotional attention, care, and support to begin the healing process.

Important Natural Responses

1st Response - Instincts

 

Whether it be to run, scream or grab the arms of your attacker your first response will be a natural instinct. That response no matter what it is will be the right response.

 

2nd Response – Self-preservation

 

The most important things in saving your life are to:

  1. Keep breathing / remain conscious

  2. Look for the moment to get away

  3. Fight and flight

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