Monday, November 19, 2007

The Most Common Self Defense Mistakes Women Make

When it comes to self defense both men and women make mistakes, but it is interesting that men and women typically make different mistakes. Men typically make mistakes by being "tough" and overly confident and they usually end up walking right into the hands of a criminal, while women typically make mistakes by not knowing what to do when someone confronts them and this lead to making poor decisions.

Here are the eight most common mistakes that women make in self defense situations. Any one of these mistakes can lead to being assaulted, kidnapped, rapped, murdered, or any combination thereof.

Mistake number one: Letting people get too close. If someone comes up to confront a man, a man will usually adopt an aggressive posture; however, a woman will usually respond with either an impartial or fearful reaction. Time and time again, when we look through case files we see that women let men walk right up to them instead of establishing boundaries.

Attackers only want to attack easy targets and there are two things that they typically look at to determine if someone is an easy target. One, are they actively paying attention to their surroundings? If they are then they might see the attacker coming and either run away or make a scene, but if they are not paying attention then they probably can be taken by surprise. Two, when I approach them, how close do they let me get to them? If the intended victim lets you walk right up to them then chances are they won't fight back, but if you start to invade their space and they stop you and establish a boundary then chances are they will fight back and you'll have to find an easier target.

You have to learn to be assertive and protect your personal space. To a criminal the invasion of your personal space is a test to see how vulnerable you are. So, if someone comes up to you, often to ask you a question such as "Do you have the time", there is no reason for them to be closer than 10 feet. If someone approaches closer you need to tell them to stop.

Mistake number two: Not being alert in transition areas such as parking lots, parking garages, driveways, and stairwells.
Criminals want to attack their victims someplace where they can take them by surprise and that makes transition areas perfect because people in parking lots, driveways, and stairwells usually are preoccupied. While both men and women are attacked in parking lots, women are targeted there more often then men and this is for three main reasons.

The first reason is that women, who often run the home, are usually busy with thoughts about the 8 million things that they have to do that day. While they walk from the store to their car they are thinking about rushing home, getting dinner ready, what they will wear tomorrow, and a thousand other things and that means that they are not paying attention to the fact that a criminal is following them.

The second reason is that women are usually easier to victimize then men. There are many reasons for this such as the fact that most women never even seriously consider what they would do if they were attacked, and therefore when that happens those women usually do nothing. Also, criminals have stated two other reasons that women are easier to victimize then men: women love to shop and often burden themselves by carrying lots of bags which make them easy pickings and virtually guarantee they can't fight back, and women's skin tight fashions drastically limit their range of motion and make it incredibly hard to fight back or run away.

The third reason is that criminals know that women generally carry more money then men, and the things they have to steal are usually more marketable then what they could steal from men. For these reasons all over the country women are mugged, carjacked, robbed, abducted and raped in parking lots. In fact, in 2002 25% of all reported rapes in America occurred in parking lots and parking garages.

While it is important to walk with confidence, it is far more important to walk with your head up and actively look around to see who and what is around you and if someone is watching or following you. If a criminal sees you actively looking around they will most likely find someone else.

If you leave a store stop and look around you to see if anyone is watching you. Don't walk straight to your car, instead walk to another area of the parking lot and zig zag around to see if anyone is watching or following you. If you walk down an isle and then suddenly cut between two cars to the next isle and you see that someone stops or changes direction to keep up with you, then head back to the store. Also be aware of cars driving slowly through the lot because some criminals attack their victims by driving slowly around a lot until they find someone they like, then pulling up next to them and jumping out to rob or abduct them.

Mistake number three: Getting into the attacker's car. If you allow an attacker to take you to another location your chance of survival is only 3%. If someone is trying to get you into a car you want to fight and scream as much as possible and do whatever is necessary to avoid getting into the car.

If an attacker has a gun and orders you into a car your best option is to turn around and run toward the closest populated area. Very few attackers actually want to shoot you, and according to FBI statistics, if you turn and run 95% of the time the attacker will not shoot. Even if he does shoot at you, you are now a moving target and it is very unlikely that he has any training with firearms, which is why you have a 97% chance of surviving because either he will miss you or won't hit anything vital. So if someone pulls a gun and orders you into a car and you turn and run your chances of surviving are over 95% compared to getting into the car and having a 3% chance.

Mistake number four: Pulling over when a man signals that there is something wrong with your car. This is another common ploy used by men to rape, abduct, and carjack women. Simply the guy, or guys, will drive up to a woman's car and wave her down by signaling that there is something wrong with her car. Then once she pulls over he pulls over too and attacks her.

If this happens, drive to the nearest well populated gas station or other well populated area. Do not pull over. Many women do fall for this because of the notion that guys know more about cars then women. Unless there is smoke pouring out of your car there is no reason to suddenly pull over.

Mistake number five: Not locking your doors while in your car. For some reason people, not just women, tend to not lock their car doors. Knowing this, criminals often walk up to a car that is stopped at a light and just open the door, jump in with a gun or knife, and either abduct or carjack the driver. Another tactic they use is to wait until someone gets into their car, and once they shut their car door they run over and open the door and have their way with the driver. The simple act of just locking your car door once you get in your car can save you from many attacks. If you are in your car and someone does run up to your car and try to open you door, just drive away.

Mistake number six: Opening your front door without knowing who is there. Unfortunately this has led to many attacks, robberies, rapes, abductions, and murders of both men and women. A criminal knocks on a door and the person opens the door to see who is there, and the man just pushes her inside and victimizes her. You should never, ever open your door without knowing who is there.

If you don't have a peep hole then you should get one installed and use it. If you look through the peep hole and you can't see the person clearly tell them to back up so you can get a better look at them. If they refuse then don't open the door. Also don't rely on the door chain protecting you because it can be broken. Unless you know exactly who is at your door never open it.

Mistake number seven: Trusting a clean cut, honest looking stranger. Many people believe that they know what a criminal or sexual predator looks like, however if you were to sit down and look through mug shot books of sex offenders you would see that they look just like everyone else. Most sexual predators are clean cut and even attractive. Also, don't be too trusting of young, old, or crippled people. There have been tens of thousands of cases of rapists being on crutches or having only one arm or leg.

If some approaches you, don't be disarmed because they are in their 70's or because they are only 13. Robbers, rapists, kidnappers, and murders come in all ages. The best thing to do is the exact same thing that you probably tell your kids: if you don't know someone then they are a stranger and should be treated as such.

Mistake number eight: Trusting people to be alone with your children. This one is more for your children but important none the less. When it comes to child molesters they are usually the last person you would think of. They are usually kind, trusting, and good with children. Although women can be the perpetrators, usually the abuser is a father, stepfather, mother's boyfriend, sister's boyfriend, brother, step brother, uncle, grandfather, babysitter, neighbor, family friend, sports coach, or other person who is supposed to give care or guidance to the child.

It is important to observe your children and see how they act before and after they spend time with someone. Often a sign of abuse is depression and poor self image. If a child who is usually out going and full of energy returns from staying with someone and suddenly they are quiet and acting depressed it may be a sign that something happened during their stay. Another good clue is how they act when their abuser's name is mentioned. If they get quiet, sad, angry, or fearful when a particular person's name is said, take notice. Make sure you observe your children and talk to them about their contact with other people

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