Hello, Sexy Voyagers!
This post is about avoiding stranger violence. (Pseudo-stranger and intimate partner violence are topics to be covered later.) So, where to start? Read my first post on intuition. Then this book by Gavin deBecker.
And, a caveat. It might seem tempting to victim-blame by re-thinking what a person should or should not have done to avoid danger. That’s not what we are doing here. What we are doing is learning about sending a potentially hazardous interaction down a different path, so the person wishing you harm doesn’t get what he wants.
How to do that? Here are some things to consider.
Calm the f**k down. When you are scared or nervous or anxious all the time, you are looking for the wrong thing at the wrong time, and you’ll miss the real thing that is happening. False fear, worry, the fear we manufacture, are all just walls we build up between ourselves and our intuitions. If that happens, your intuition could be screaming at you about the guy behind you and you won’t hear it because you’re focused on the “shiny thing” that is right in front of you.
Follow your instincts. There is no one size fits all for how to react to danger or potential danger. There are a few “nevers” or “always” when your intuition is talking to you, some of which I detail in this list. But, overwhelmingly, the solution is the simplest, i.e., let your intuition guide you, and do not question it.
To quote Mr. deBecker, when a person is trying to harm you: “Sometimes (your intuition) tells a person to play dead, to stop breathing, or to run or scream or fight. To Kelly* it said, “Be quiet, don’t doubt me and I’ll get you out of here.” *Spoiler alert: Kelly did and it did.
To quote me: When your instincts tell you, BE SCARED right effing NOW, then GO. That feeling is like Kyle Reese from The Terminator when he says to Sarah Connor*, “Come with me if you want to live.” *Spoiler alert, from a 35 year-old movie: Sarah did and she did.
The way you walk matters. Walk with confidence, with your head up, looking around, shoulders back. This includes turning and making eye contact with someone you think might be following you, and raising your hands in a “stop” or “stay away” gesture. A good guy will stop IMMEDIATELY. A bad guy won’t. Let him know you are not an easy target.
And while you are at it, never, EVER go to a second location. What is a second location? Anywhere that is not where the interaction began, including another street, car, bar, alleyway, or behind an apartment door. If you fear someone, then that interaction ends here and now, not wherever else the offender wants it to.
Finally, this. Do not think that you are immune from danger just because you a) are with someone else, b) are carrying a weapon, c) know the neighborhood, d) are on your phone, e) have told someone else where you are going or, and especially this, which for some reason has some women thinking they don’t have to be aware of potential danger: e) have your phone’s location services on. (Some of these things may help police to find your body after you’re dead, though. So, there’s that.)
The key to any situation, and I mean ANY, is to turn your intuition on, like a sonar or a radio, and let it do the work for you, so you get to go about living your life, trusting it to keep you safe.