ADVICE THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
After getting my license last year, I have new-found freedom to go anywhere I want without depending on my parents to take me there or pick me up. Now when I’m hungry and craving a Chipotle burrito bowl or a Dairy Queen blizzard, I just jump into my beloved car, Heidi, and buzz to wherever the cravings take me, whenever I want.
But sometimes, people won’t do that, depending on if it’s dark or if they have to go alone. And it breaks my heart.
It sucks that this world we live in betrays us and that creepers in shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order: SVU exist. It sucks that we have to tell girls to be careful in public in order not to get beaten, raped, murdered, or taken. It makes me sick that we actually have to reach that stage where you have to tell children like my 9-year-old sister that people aren’t always good and the world isn’t always a happy-sunshiny place. Should people be taught that hurting another person for power, money, or just the hell of it is unspeakable and wrong? Yes, they really should be (and a discussion for a later post). But, unfortunately, for now, this is the reality that we live in, and we have to prepare for these situations.
In NO WAY am I trying to scare anyone, but sometimes these things happen and you never think that it will to you. I believe that with a proper knowledge of how to avoid the them and how to defend yourself, we can be a little more at ease with the peace of mind that you do know what to do in these types of situations, God forbid, if they ever come about. I’m not saying everyone is out to get you either because it’s not even the large majority of people who do these horrible things, but the small minority who ruins it for everyone. So without further ado, here are some very important tips that could just save your life one day.
Always, always, always TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
If you get that feeling in a parking lot, street, or someone’s house where you feel your stomach churn and the hairs rise on the back of your neck, screaming, “Something is wrong! You need to get out!” then LISTEN TO THEM. If you’re in a parking lot or walking on the street, do whatever you can to go into the nearest store, restaurant, etc. until you feel safe or to call the police. If you’re in a house, grab your keys and cell phone if you can and get the hell out.
One time my mom was driving home from work on a highway around midnight when a guy in a big SUV drove up next to her and flashed a badge. He motioned for her to pull over but there were no police lights, the car wasn’t marked as a police car, and he wasn’t in a uniform. Every sense she had was telling her not to. She shook her head and he got angry and sped off. God knows what would’ve happened to her if she would have pulled over. So, trust your instincts. They are your friends.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Any decent human being will apologize profusely if they’ve scared you. Just sayin’. If they don’t apologize, something is up and you need to get away from them.
Try to avoid a dangerous situation altogether.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Keep your head up and scan what’s in front of you, to the side, and behind you. Where are the exits? Where is your car? What’s around your car? Where’s a phone you could use? Is there anyone acting suspicious? Do not walk with your nose in your phone, rifling through your bag, or doing anything else that puts your guard down. Someone could easily come up behind you and overpower you if you aren’t paying attention.
- Suspicious behavior could be walking too close to you, wearing dark clothing or clothing not appropriate for where you are, walking in strange patterns (avoiding security cameras), following you, or hiding behind cars or other large objects.
- If you suspect someone is following you on foot, duck into the nearest store, restaurant, gas station, etc. (public place + witnesses = no-go for most criminals).
- If you suspect someone is following you in a car, make a few turns (as long as you know where you’re going) without a turn signal. If they find their way back to you, call the police and try to pull into a police station, hospital, or another safe place.
- Park under lights at night. This way, you will have visibility of your car, the car(s) surrounding it, and inside of your car. Check in the back and underneath it before you get in.
- If there’s a large van next the driver’s side of your car with someone sitting inside of it, enter your car from the passenger’s side. As soon as you get in, lock all of your doors and leave.
- Leave immediately after getting into your car. Don’t sit around and check Instagram, return a call, do your makeup, or anything else. You’re basically a sitting duck where someone could come along and open your door or break a window (Horrible, I know, but it has happened). If you absolutely must stay, have your car on, doors locked, and be aware.
- If someone does jump into your car with a weapon, crash it and run!
- Use common sense and your best judgement. Know what areas of your town you should avoid. If you’re unfamiliar with an area and it seems like it’s a “rough” neighborhood, don’t stick around. Always take the safer route, even if it means you’ll be late.
- Always use the elevator over the stairs, especially in unfamiliar and/or sketchy buildings. Your fitness routine doesn’t take priority over your safety.
- You do not have to be nice to everyone. As people (especially women), we are taught to be nice all the time. While this is great, don’t be afraid to be mean if your instincts are kicking in and you get a funny feeling about a situation. There was a serial killer named Ted Bundy who would walk with a limp to lure women into his car by pretending to need help getting a large object in. Rapists do it all the time, too, by convincing you to have another drink or going up to their room since you’ve been flirting all night. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t help people or be kind, but if you get an odd feeling, get out of the situation, even if you have to be mean. It could save your life.
- Pretend like you know where you’re going, even if you don’t. My mom and her friend were in New York City, busy talking, when they accidentally walked too far into a bad neighborhood. They played it cool, by going down the edge of a sidewalk, crossing the street, and turning around, continuing to talk the whole time. Nothing happened, but it could’ve if they were acting lost or panicking. Some criminals prey on tourists or people who don’t know where they are. So pretend you belong, and you’ll be okay.
- Take safety measures in your house. Keep extra sets of car keys and landlines on all floors, install an alarm system, adopt a dog, and set up rally points for your family members.
- If you sense something is off when you enter your house, don’t let go of your keys/purse and cell phone. Get out of your house immediately.
- If you hear odd noises or your electricity or water is out, don’t go investigate either. Criminals will try to lure people out of their homes this way.
- Give a child a safeword. My mom and I had a safeword just in case we were in a situation where neither of my parents could pick me up from school and they had to send someone I didn’t know. She would tell them the safeword, and I would ask them for it. If they told me what it was, it was safe to go with them. If they couldn’t, it wasn’t safe. Try something that’s only known by few people and not easily guessed, but easily remembered. Mine was a childhood stuffed animal name that I made up.
- Invest in some protection. Whether it be pepper spray or a pistol, see what you can do in order to be prepared. There are also apps like SafeTrek and emergency modes on smartphones now that you could use as well. My Samsung Galaxy S7 has a feature where if I press the power button three times, it sends a message to my emergency contacts.
- Always meet a stranger in a public place like a coffee shop, restaurant, mall, or bar. Never agree to meet someone for the first time at their house or your’s. You don’t know them and therefore, haven’t developed trust yet (or figured out if they’re a psychopath).
- Take a self defense class. I took one that was hosted by a local church, and it sure made me feel better if I got into a potentially dangerous situation. It’s a great investment: peace of mind. If you don’t have one in your area or can’t afford it, that’s okay. I have links at the end to basic self-defense moves and there’s always YouTube.
Couldn’t avoid it, so now what?
Get away and make a fuss!
**Criminals want to acquire easy targets in a timely manner without drawing attention to what they’re doing.**
- Make noise. Stomp your feet, scream, hit things as you go by them, something. They will most likely let you go if you’re in a public area, even if they have a weapon.
- Be difficult to capture. Most criminals want a quick and easy target where they can grab a victim and go. Don’t go willingly. Become dead weight if they’re pulling you. Make yourself urinate, vomit, or bleed all over them.
- There was a local news story where a little girl was playing in her front yard when a man approached her and ask her to get into his car. When she refused, he tried to pull her, but she sat down (became dead weight) and it saved her life.
- If someone tries to rob you, throw your purse/wallet/jewelry/whatever away from you. Odds are they are more interested in your things than you, so throw it and run.
- Call their bluff. Most criminals are cowards which is why children and women are big targets, so telling them to actually injure you in public might scare them away. This is more of a last resort, yet it could still save your life.
- My dad had a friend who was walking in a public park one evening with his girlfriend when a man came up behind them with a gun. The man told them to go behind a tree in the forest, but my dad’s friend told him, “If you’re going to shoot me, shoot me right here because I’m not going behind that tree.” The man ran off, the two of them completely unharmed. Most criminals wouldn’t shoot you in a public area (especially in broad daylight), and even if they did, there would be witnesses and plenty of help.
- Never ever ever ever let anyone take you to a second location. Most criminals will take their victims to another location to carry out their mission, for lack of better terms. Don’t be that victim! Do whatever you can to keep them from pulling you into their car or to get help. Even if they pull a weapon on you, you probably have a better chance of surviving running in a zigzag pattern than going with them.
- If you’re thrown into the trunk of a car, push out a taillight and start waving. The drive won’t see you, but everyone else on the road will.
When captured, find a way out and/or a way to contact police.
- Look for doors, windows, vents, or any other things that may lead outside. If you see a door is open and your captor is in another room, break for it and don’t look back. Don’t fight unless you have to, since some countries have laws about using deadly force in self-defense while some US states are more relaxed.
- Stand your ground. You can physically harm someone if they harm you or threaten you first, however. I’m not condoning harm, just condoning your survival. Look at the laws in every US state here.
- Know where to hit someone. If someone has you, one hit in the right spot could give that open window (even just a fraction of a second) to get away.
- Eyes: They are really sensitive (and important for doing criminal activity) so scratch, poke, gouge, whatever you need to do.
- Nose: Use the heel of your hand (the bottom curvature of your palm) and strike up on an attacker’s nose. It hurts like hell and their eyes will water.
- Ears: Ever smack your open palm over someone’s ear or had it done to you? It’s super uncomfortable and distracting (and will hurt if you do it hard enough). Pulling them works, too.
- Throat: A quick, hard motion to the jugular will cut off breathing and make an attacker choke.
- Crotch: If you kick anyone hard enough, it will hurt (especially men) and make them cower, even just for a second.
- Sensitive skin above armpits and in the inner thigh: If you squeeze really hard, it’s enough to make anyone cringe.
- But sometimes, just hitting someone once isn’t enough. In that case (like being taken to an unknown location), DO NOT stop until they are incapacitated.
- For example, in the movie Split, the captor was distracted, so one of the girls picked up a chair and hit him with it. Keep in mind, the house she’s in has a super confusing layout and she has no idea where she’s running to and this guy has a slightly above average build. It barely distracted him since the chair immediately fell apart. This is a bad example, so what she should’ve done was hit him with the chair and picked up the pieces and knocked him out or taken the knife on the counter he was using. Please, please don’t be like this girl and make sure a captor CANNOT FOLLOW YOU.
Always assess your situation accordingly.
Not all of these tips and pieces of advice will work with every situation, but follow your gut. Whatever you think you should do, do it. I have faith in you. And remember…
Do whatever is necessary in your situation to SURVIVE,
because anything can be replaced
but you cannot be.
More Tips and Videos
- Forbes – 10 Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life
- Love to Know – Safety Tips for Everyday Life
- Cosmopolitan – 21 Safety Tips Every Woman Should Know
- Women’s Self-Defense Institute
- Kevin Coffey – Women Safety Tips from a Woman Cop
- Trinity College – Rape Prevention Tips
- Howcast – Basic Self-Defense Moves (Videos)
Yay! You made it through! I’m so proud. Here are some pictures of puppies and kittens to cheer you up now.
Share these tips!
I encourage you to share this post with your friends and family so more people can be knowledgeable about situations like these! Remember, knowledge is power!
But, I hope no one ever actually has to use them.