# NotMe (Part 2 of Be Smart Be Safe series)
A personal safety and self-defense series
Preparation is Key to Safety.
An attack or even the threat of attack can be frightening. The mere presence of evil can render many people helpless and unable to defend themselves at all.
Preparation for such an event does not require you to focus on the potential situation. Preparation simply gives you a chance to put yourself in the best possible position to get home safely, and that’s all anyone really cares about.
In part 2 of my personal safety and self-defense series we examine several “What next?” scenarios you may find yourself in, and how to go from being aware of a potentially dangerous situation to actually dealing with it.
I understand the thought of being attacked is enough to send most people scrambling to soothe their psyches by looking at pictures of puppies, but the purpose of these articles is to give you as many options and opportunities to get home safely as I can.
Pretending it won’t happen to you will not keep it from happening. Vigilance is your best defense. If you don’t want to be a victim of crime, practice not being a victim. Preparing and practicing for “What if, What next, and What now” scenarios will make you more comfortable when confronted with threatening or violent actions. The more you practice and become comfortable in those situations, the more able you are to respond and defend yourself successfully.
Myth: Learning to be safe requires years of training
Not the case at all. Knowing a few simple techniques and concepts can make the difference between be a victim and getting home safely.
Sometimes just thinking a potential scenario through will give you time to consider all options when you are calm and have time to make rational choices.
Violence is scary, I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. It is overwhelming and beyond anything you have ever experienced. In the heat of an attack you may see your life flash before your eyes or fixate on one important person and become totally incapacitated. Terror can prevent a person from processing coherent thoughts or taking any actions that could save their life. This is completely normal, but with proper preparation does not have to be your reality.
In the “What next” phase of an attack, I point out ordinary, everyday items we use that can double as weapons to disable or maim an attacker. A pen or keys make ideal makeshift weapons that can be used to free yourself from a dangerous situation and back to safety.
An attack can happen literally anywhere. Using these secondary defense skills will stun and temporarily immobilize your attackers just long enough to allow you to escape.
It’s vital to have the proper attitude in a potentially dangerous situation. The way you present yourself has a great impact on whether or not you are ever a victim. If you walk with your head down, shoulders hunched over, and avoiding eye contact, you are sending signals to all predators that you are weak and afraid, and you will be a perfect target.
Attackers prey on people who look lost, scared, or unaware.
On the other hand, if you walk with your shoulders back, phone tucked away, head up and make eye contact with passersby, you give off the impression you are not to be messed with. I also suggest thinking powerful thoughts as they pass by. “That’s right. Don’t even think about it. You don’t want to mess with me.” If you repeat similar thoughts (in your head,) that powerful energy will be transmitted to those around you.
The easiest way to alert a potential attacker that you will not be an easy victim is with your body language and voice. Years ago I was in a less than desirable part of town getting gas when a man approached me. He was about 30 feet away, walking towards me, walking with a small child. Something seemed off with him. He kept looking directly at me and I knew he was up to no good. Since he had a child with him I didn’t feel it was his intention to rob me, but nonetheless I didn’t want him getting any closer.
This is what I call the pivot point. It is the point where you have a choice to do one of two actions, and the action you choose can mean the difference between safety and an attack.
I stopped pumping gas, put my hand out and in a very firm voice said “Stop right there.”
Given these circumstances, do you think this was just a poor man down on his luck trying to beg a couple of bucks to feed his kid? If you think so, that kind of thinking can get you killed.
No man should be approaching a woman who is by herself, pumping gas, even if he was just begging for money. I was uncomfortable and I let him know it.
According to the Tueller Drill, better known as the 21 foot rule, it takes the average person with a knife 1.5 seconds to get to and stab a person 21 feet away. It’s also the same amount of time the average person can draw and fire a handgun.
What happens if you don’t have a gun or weapon? That means an attacker who is 21 feet or closer needs just 1.5 seconds to get to you. 1.5 seconds.
Does that make you think differently about that scenario?
When it comes to a potential attack, I don’t scream. Screaming may get attention of passersby, but it also creates fear and panic in the person screaming. If you want to gain attention and put an attacker on alert, yell, don’t scream. Yelling makes you angry, and when you’re angry you are more likely to fight back.
Yelling also sends a message to the attacker that you’re not afraid, but that you are pissed, and someone who is mad is less likely to be an easy target. Swearing is also a good tactic for defense. There’s a rawness to swearing that gives an impression of strength and determination.
If you need help vocalizing your intentions, I suggest you find a mirror in a private place, somewhere at home or in your car, and practice yelling and swearing into the mirror. For those of you who keep your feelings and emotions bottled in, this may be a difficult exercise, but this is the time to let it rip.
I know many women have difficulty expressing their emotions verbally, and it takes some practice to find your inner bad ass, but it’s vital you become comfortable yelling and swearing. Practice getting yourself as worked up as possible and see what that looks and feels like for you. Feel how it changes your energy and emotions. You will be creating a base of power. Get comfortable with it. Use your voice as the first line of defense in a threatening or potentially dangerous situation.
Even though I am licensed to carry a handgun in my state and that permit is honored in many other states, there are still many states that do not allow it, so I always have a back up of ordinary items that can be used as weapons anywhere I go, some are even allowed on an airplane.
Carrying a gun has many legal and ethical ramifications and it’s important that you train and remain proficient. Many people have asked me if I think they should get a gun and I always tell them no. If you have to ask, it’s not for you.
Instead, I carry a clickable pen in my pocket or easily accessible on my person. I hold it in my fist like a dagger and it becomes an instant weapon. It’s ideal for poking someone in the eyes, throat, or stomach, kidneys or thigh. An opponent who can’t see or breathe, can’t fight.
I keep a Phillips head (the pointy kind) screwdriver in the door of my vehicle. It’s perfectly legal and deadly in case of an attempted carjacking.
Keys also make a great weapon. Hold the bunch of keys in your fist, allowing one key to protrude between your middle and index fingers. Gouging eyes or the throat will immediately incapacitate an attacker, or you can use the key like a knife and slash at the face or throat. You’re not looking to kill your attacker, but you can use these counterattacks to inflict enough pain to get you out of most situations.
I am also licensed to carry teargas, but it comes with many drawbacks. First of all, the air bound irritant can blow back at you in the wind. Many years ago I was carrying a bunch of things out to my car and picked up the canister on my way out. I accidentally sprayed my hand and the cloud of teargas quickly wafted into my face. The irritation lasted for almost 30 minutes. The benefit of teargas is that you can spray someone at a significant distance, the canisters are relatively cheap, and the damage is not permanent, but you must check with your local law enforcement for regulations regarding its use.
Stun guns are another option, but for the untrained or fearful person, the weapon can be easily taken away and used against you. The benefit is you can buy one for around ten dollars and the crackling noise they make is quite alarming.
When showing property, I recommend for my real estate and business clients to always know where the exits of a home or office are located. I suggest they allow their client to enter a room ahead of them and always stay closest to the door. Early on in my real estate career, a female agent was abducted from an open house. She was alone with a stranger who raped, murdered, and shoved her in the truck of a car.
The threat is real.
Whether you’re showing a house or in an office and someone attacks, I always want something I can throw at them, aiming for their face. It may seem silly, but I recommend keeping a handful of sand in a pocket that can be easily thrown at the eyes to temporarily blind an attacker.
When stuck in a small place such as an elevator or bathroom with a stranger, my go to strike to disable an attacker is several swift and powerful kicks to the knees. It’s a fragile joint and easily damaged with well rapid kicks at or just below the kneecap.
An attacker who can’t stand, can’t fight.
In my personal safety and self defense seminars we practice escaping from chokes, wrist grabs, and threatening positions, easily defeating strength and weight with body and joint manipulation and body dynamics.
We’ll discuss some one these techniques for the “What now?” phase of an actual attack in the third and final article in this series.