Imagine a woman, I will call her Sara, was working late one night. This was not her normal schedule, but she had an important deadline to meet. She was left in her office building alone and would lock up once she wrapped up her work. As Sara left the building and started her walk across the parking lot, she was approached by a man whom she has never seen. He asked her for directions and as Sara started to give him directions, he grabbed her and attempted to attack her. Sara fought back, but the memories of that night still haunt her.
If you were Sara, would you know how to react? Would you fight back or let your attacker continue his plan of action? In this article, I will provide you with some tips on how to prevent an attack and what to do if you find yourself in the midst of an attack.
Know your surroundings
The number one thing any woman can do is be alert to her surroundings. Make sure you see and hear everything. Always be looking for something which is out of the ordinary, such as individuals who are not allowed in a certain area or appear to be lurking around. If you come out of a shopping mall or your place of employment and there is a man sitting in the care next to the driver’s side, turn around and go back inside. Once inside, ask a security officer or a male co-worker to walk you to your car. If there is nobody available to walk you to your car, enter your car from the passenger’s side door and immediately lock your doors.
Another part of knowing your surroundings is to be aware of where you have parked your vehicle. Try not to park next to a large van. I often refer to these as “rapist vans”. They usually have a sliding door and very few windows, sort of like a utility van. These vans, while as ugly as they are, have become the best tool for any serial rapist and serial murderer. These vans make it easier for the attacker to grab you as you are getting into your vehicle and proceeding with his attack plan. Avoid these vans at all costs!
Inspect your vehicle
Prior to entering your vehicle, always check for out of place items in and around your vehicle. Check underneath your vehicle to make sure there is nobody underneath your car. Sometimes attackers will surprise victims by grabbing the ankles and dragging down victims. Also, look through your windows to see if someone is sitting in your car or attempting to hide in your car. Sometimes attackers will sit and hide in the backseat of cars, thus surprising victims while they are already en route somewhere else.
A good deal of attacks occurs when the victim is distracted. To limit distractions do not talk on your cell phone while in a parking lot. Another way to limit distractions is to not be flipping through your wallet or going through your purse as you approach your vehicle. When you first get into your vehicle, do not go through your checkbook, just drive away. Women are known to be balancing checkbooks after a shopping trip, making them vulnerable to an attack. Wait until you get home to make your entries.
Other tips for preventing an attack
If you have long hair, do not wear it in a ponytail. When hair is put up into a ponytail, it gives the attacker something to grab and drag you down to the ground. Always wear your hair down.
Keep your keys in your hand at all times. By keeping your keys in your hand as you approach your car, you can be ready to get into your car right away. Also, keys can act as a weapon. If your attacker does not have a weapon of his own you may be able to use the keys to jab at him if he gets close enough to you.
If you must walk at night, try to choose a route with which you are familiar. Always have a friend walk with you if possible. Always walk in well-lit areas. Avoid dark alleys where someone could hide in the shadows. If you find yourself coming up on an alley, cross the street or turn around and find an alternate route.
What to do if you are attacked
Now that I have given you some tips on how to prevent attacks, it would only be fitting to discuss what to do if you are attacked. There are a few things you can do if you are attacked: fight your attacker, run away, or submit to the attacker. Since each attacker operates differently, you have to be able to quickly analyze the situation before making a decision.
When to fight
Most of the people who survive an attack have done so because they fought their attacker. Before you decide to fight off your attacker, size the situation up. Does he have a weapon? How can you escape if he gives up on you? These questions will not only help you fend off an attacker, they very well could save your life.
Once you have sized-up the situation, fight away and draw as much attention to yourself as possible. Scream as loud as you can. The groin is probably the best place to hit your attacker because it is the weakest and most sensitive part on a man’s body. Another area you can get your attacker to let go is to attempt to gouge out your attacker’s eyes. It has been said most animals and humans will always let go when this happens. Never keep your body still. Keep moving by twisting your body and wiggling. If you keep moving, your attacker will most likely tire and let you go.
If you are approached by someone who wants your purse, your best bet is to run. Just through your purse or wallet away from your attacker and run like crazy. Even if the attacker has a gun, he more than likely will not use it if he is just interested in your money. When running away, always run in a zigzag pattern. Running in a zigzag will prevent you from being hit by a bullet if your attacker wishes to shoot. Keep running until you reach safety and can call the police.
Submitting to the attacker
Every woman’s worse fear is to go through a full attack. It is bad enough to have to fight off or run away from attack, but sometimes there is not a choice. Most of the time women will choose to submit if their lives are in jeopardy. Submitting is probably the best bet if your attacker has a deadly weapon. If your attacker has a weapon and is not interested in your personal belongings, best bet is to submit to save your life. A lot of these men will not refrain from taking a life because of rejection. If there is an opportunity for you to escape or fight after you submit to your attacker, fight him off and try to gain control of his weapon if he has set it down.
While no one can predict when she will be attacked, these tips can help prevent an attack and save your life. Nobody wills themselves to be attacked, but we can all be proactive to prevent it. Make sure you make the safest and best choice when dealing with an attacker. Remember to follow your instinct. Remember survival is the key and do not leave your life at the mercy of another if at all possible.