Let's start this blog by stating obviously that a woman is NEVER at fault for being a victim of any type of assault. However, we all have the power to make choices that reduce our risk of being targeted. A female officer from the U.S. shared her tips for women to be safer in the daily lives. Please share this information with as many people as you know - it could save a life!
The officer's job was to review criminal and psychiatric files of imprisoned sex offenders who were approaching their release date. Through her reading of hundreds of files, she noticed some common pitfalls women had fallen into - pitfalls that could be avoided with some awareness to the subjects. Note: these tips can be applied to anyone really, but these are specific to scenarios that have lead to a woman being sexually assaulted.
(warning the contents of this article aren't very well sugarcoated and could contain triggers)
Getting into an attacker's car when he pulls out a weapon and orders you to get into his vehicle.
Most attackers don't want to kill you ... they want you to get into the car so that they can drive you to a deserted place and torture you. Don't comply. Run screaming. It is MUCH more likely than not that he will just move on to an easier target.
Pulling over when a man drives alongside you pointing at your car pretending something is wrong.
If this happens, drive to the nearest well-lit and populated petrol station and look the car over yourself. Never pull over. Believe it or not, many women have fallen for this for fear of their car spontaneously exploding in the middle of the road (which is not likely).
Not locking your doors while driving.
There have been several cases where the attacker simply walks up to a woman's car while she's at a traffic light and jumps in with his gun or knife drawn. Make it part of your routine; just like you check your mirrors and put your seatbelt on before you drive off from home or work, remember to lock the doors too!
Opening your house door when you have not positively identified who is there.
If you don't have a peep hole, get one - or check out of the nearest window to see who is there first.There have been countless cases where the attacker gains access to his victims simply by knocking on their door. Don't let an attacker get into your home. He then has a private, relatively soundproof place to attack you.
Not being alert in parking lots.
If you go to the grocery store at night, don't be shy about asking for an escort to your car. Too many women are abducted from parking lots or even raped in the parking lot. Look in your back seat before entering your car. Cars provide endless hiding places for attackers, both inside them and in between them.
Be aware of your surroundings by looking to the left and right and behind you with your head up all the time. You may appear paranoid and look funny to others, but an attacker will think twice about approaching someone who appears so aware of what's going on.
Trusting a clean cut, honest looking stranger.
Most sex offenders do not look like monsters. They often look like they could be your friendly grocer. They are every age between 15 and 90+. Only a small minority actually look scary. There was a case of a man with only one leg who beat up his victim with his crutch before he raped her. Who would have ever thought that a one legged man would be a rapist?
Trusting people to be alone with your children.
This is a difficult one because child molesters end up being the LAST person the parents would think. Most cases involve the stepfather, the uncle, the sister's boyfriend, the mother's boyfriend, the grandfather, the babysitter, the neighbour, the family friend, the youth camp director, day care worker, etc.
Although rare, even women can be molesters. In every case, the perpetrator is a nice guy, trusting, good with children.
When it comes to your children and grandchildren, be suspicious of everyone, no matter who they are. Pay attention to what your child says and how they react to the mention of different people in their lives.
When having your car serviced, give the attendant only the car keys.
This may seem obvious to most people, but it could help someone who wouldn't think twice about it. Some may have key duplicators readily available, and they generally have your address and contact details on file. In any case, don't make it easy for someone to know where you live and get into your home.
There you go, this is not an exhaustive list of common pitfalls to avoid, but they are the major ones that have stood out and have been found to be repeatedly experienced by women.What are your thoughts?