Okay so here we go with another “preparedness” type of document, I know, but there is a subject that is not often spoken about specifically when the conversation turns towards preparedness. It is a subject that can affect every female regardless of age, race, etc… I have a several female family members & I thought I would share some things I’ve gone over with them in the past. I’m speaking about rape.
Unfortunately no matter where you live in the world if you’re a female & there is some sort of catastrophic event, be it nature or man-made, you stand a significant chance of being raped. Of course you stand a chance of it happening even in your everyday life, but when there’s a situation where people have no fear of contact with law enforcement due to the circumstances the chances are greatly multiplied. The top three “major” crime rates that skyrocket during & following an event are Robbery, Murder & Rape. Depending on where you live any of these can be the ‘number 1’, but rape is always in the top three. Of course there’s vandalism, assault, etc.; and in my opinion they are all major to someone, but you get my meaning.
Now some of you may have just looked over at or thought about your big, strapping husband, boyfriend or other & breathed a sigh of relief. Suck it back in. Much like a guard dog he will be awesome at protecting you right up until he gets taken down. In situations where there is more than one assailant it can obviously happen faster than if there is only one person, but one or some, it can still happen. He’s not invincible & you need to be prepared to defend yourself in the event that he’s incapacitated & there’s no law to call for help. What happens if he’s not even there?
So what can you do? Quite a common question isn’t it? I feel that a better question is ‘what will you do’? As ridiculous as it sounds fear keeps people from defending themselves. Fear of prosecution, fear of retaliation, fear of making the situation worse, fear, fear, fear. The first thing you need to do is Abandon Your Fear. You have to understand that fear is useful, but only if you use it to your advantage. If you don’t your fear may consume you & cause you to act in ways that are detrimental to your survival. Before you can properly use it though you have to understand it, where it comes from & how it affects you.
Relax! This is not about to turn into a class. I’m just saying that it’s important to understand your fear. Now most peoples fear, whether they know it or not or even admit it or not, comes from a lack of self confidence. If you doubt that I challenge you to think back to a time in your life when you tried something for the first time that you were afraid to do at first because you didn’t know how, but you eventually got the hang of it. This could be anything from learning to go to the bathroom to learning to drive a car. The first time & perhaps even several after that you had fear when you did it. Shaky hands, sweaty palms, tight stomach, etc., but after you gained more confidence in your abilities your fear subsided & the act became natural.
Now what I suggest next may make you turn your face up & put this down, but I urge you to continue reading. How can you mentally prepare yourself for surviving a rape situation without having to actually, well, you know? The answer is Visualization. Visualization can help you prepare yourself mentally, physically & physiologically.
I’m pretty certain that nobody wants to visualize such a horrific act being perpetrated against them, but visualization really is useful. Now I don’t mean visualizing the actual act, but more visualizing situations. Mentally creating scenarios that you often find yourself in now & some that you could potentially find yourself in later will provide you with a much needed edge should something happen. Try this exercise. Read it first & then do it. If you have trouble visualizing it may be helpful to think of it like a TV. show or movie. Focus on your physical responses first so you can get a feel for the adrenaline rush. In order for this exercise to be beneficial to you, you have to take it seriously.
Close your eyes & picture yourself stopping by the grocery store after work to pick up a few things. This is probably something many of you do several times a week. Unbeknownst to you there is an individual with some serious boundary issues watching you. You are so busy shopping that you don’t notice him following you. You don’t even notice that he checks out right behind you. He follows you to your car and the rest is a police report if he only raped you & a news report if he killed you.
Now imagine the above scenario except this time use what you learned from creating a mental scenario. As you are turning down yet another aisle you notice the same man & suspect that he may be following you. You continue to do your shopping (because you still have things to get), but keep an eye on him (because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being suspicious). You notice that he hasn’t really put anything into his basket; he was mostly just browsing, so you now assume that he is following you & your suspicions are confirmed as he checks out behind you. I know nobody wants to be wrong & falsely accuse someone of doing or trying to do something to them, but isn’t it better to be suspicious & wrong than naive & damaged?
So, as you’re walking to your car you put your pepper spray in your hand & have it ready to use. You also look into your basket & see what you can use as a weapon & you zero in on the three cans of soup that the clerk so thoughtfully double bagged. Notice I didn’t say anything about your keys. We will get to that. As you approach your car you have pepper spray in your left hand & a firm grip on both sets of handles of the bag containing canned food. Since you have visualized this moment & mentally prepared you are, (not so), strangely calm. You’re calm because you have confidence in your ability to nullify the threat & you don’t even notice that you weren’t shaking the entire time you were spraying him & clubbing him as he tried to ______. You fill in the blank. Visualization will help you abandon your fear.
About your keys, I know you have probably heard that it’s a good idea to put your keys in between your knuckles or some other manner of using your keys as a weapon, but that may cause more harm than good. You have to be very close to your assailant to be able to effectively use your keys so you should only plan to use them as a last resort.
So with fear abandoned & visualization practiced are you now safe to walk the mean streets? Not quite. Please don’t misunderstand. I am fully aware of women & their most awesome ability to endure a great many ordeals, but there’s more to it than that. Now you must Embrace Your Common Sense. Yes your common sense. It’s that little voice in your head that tells you that the stranger standing outside of your personal zone asking you for change is not a threat (despite his downtrodden appearance). It’s also the voice that tells you that the stranger asking you for the time who keeps moving towards you, inside your personal zone uninvited, means to do you harm (despite his nice appearance).
Common sense can take you a long way in life & it can go a long way in helping you to preserve your life, among other things, but only if you use it. How do you embrace your common sense? You remember that it’s ok to be suspicious & listen to your instincts. Is that enough? Nope.
Next up is Make a Plan. Making a plan is basically organizing your visualizations. What I mean is you may say to yourself “What would I do if ______”? If it’s the grocery store scenario then you may come up with several other ways you can handle the situation so you would ‘make a plan’ for several different scenarios at the grocery store. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. In your planning it is important to take into consideration you & your abilities. Some people, most people, don’t have that ‘stand & fight’ gene in them & that’s alright if you don’t, but you should still have a plan other than calling the police. Sure they’ll show up & may even help you, but they have to get there first. Would you rather spend your time waiting for them to come & save you or spend it waiting for them to come & save him?
Abandon your fear & embrace your common sense. I’m not saying don’t run back inside & I’m not saying don’t call the police. I am however saying that you would be very wise not to depend solely on them for your protection, rescue or other.
Now I’m going to make a list:
- Spray then Run Away
- Contact with the Crotch (Pretty self explanatory)
- Be careful where you seek shelter & assistance. A few years ago I read a story in which a young woman was being followed & then chased by two men. She heard music & laughter coming from a bar that turned out to be the hang out of the guys chasing her. She was repeatedly raped & beaten. When they thought she was dead they dumped her body in a lake. She fortunately (?), wasn’t dead & was able to make it to shore where she passed out & laid until she was found by a 72 year old fisherman. It had been almost 3 days. Be careful.
- Nobody but you knows how valuable your life is, therefore nobody but you can say when, where, how & with what you defend it.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance