Friday, October 26, 2007

Unsafe Safety Tips via E-mail

The following safety tips have been passed around via e-mail quite a bit. While I applaud the desire to help others, people have inadvertently passed on some misinformation. If you have received these original e-mails or e-mails like them please use caution in following the advice. When in doubt just use common sense.

E-mail #1-

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do : The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans .. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM . Toss it away from you.... chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP! It may get you raped or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, D O NOT open the door."He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it , but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby ----This should be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.

I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

My Response To E-mail #1:

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

Correction: While the elbow may be a strong tool it is also a tool that allows an attacker to get extremely close to you. Instead of using an elbow, use an open hand with the fingers curled forward (like holding a grapefruit) and slam it into the attacker's face, commonly referred to as a "face smash". This is a natural pushing movement that takes very little practice to effectively use. If an attacker gets inside the face smash then you can use an elbow technique aimed at the face and neck.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans .. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM . Toss it away from you.... chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

Correction: This MAY work but a sudden movement may also get you shot or stabbed if the robber is jumpy or if he is a first-timer. I would suggest using common sense in your response to an armed robber and don't expect one strategy to work in all situations.

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

Correction: While this is possible in late-model cars from the 70's and 80's it is less likely with newer vehicles. Instead of trying the impossible in new vehicles, attempt to find the safety release which is commonly installed in new models. If no luck there, try to find a tire-iron or any other item that might be used to pry the trunk open. Lastly, and most important- don't ever let anyone put you in a trunk in the first place!

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

Correction: Statistically, elevators are just as dangerous as stairs. In fact, an elevator represents a greater danger because the attacker can push the emergency stop button and trap you inside with him. Regardless of whether you use the elevator or stairs, ALWAYS be alert to what is going on around you and ALWAYS have an emergency action plan before you find yourself facing a potentially threatening situation.

E-mail #2-

Through a Rapist's Eyes (No Joke)

This is important information for females of ALL ages

When this was sent to me, I was told to forward it to my lady friends, but I forwarded it to most everyone in my address book. My men friends have female friends and this information is too important to miss someone.

Please pass it along

A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed . They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair . Women with short hair are not common targets.

2) The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly . Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.

3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse, or doing other activities while walking because they are off-guard and can be easily overpowered.

4) Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5:00a.m.
and 8:30a.m.

5) The number one place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. Number two: i s office parking lots/garages. Number three: is public restrooms.

6) The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

7) Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

8) If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9) These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.

10) Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question , like what time is it, or make general small talk: "I can't believe it is so cold out here," "we're in for a bad winter." Now you've seen their face and could identify them in a line-up; you lose appeal as a target.

11) If someone is coming toward you , hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afra id to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

12) If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes) , yell I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

13) If someone grabs you , you can't beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm (between the elbow and armpit) OR in the upper inner thigh VERY, VERY HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands - the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it - it hurts.

14) After the initial hit, always GO for the GROIN . I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he's out of there.

15) When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible . The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

16) Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings , take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, go with your instincts!!!

You may feel a little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

My Response to E-mail #2:

1) This is false. Hairstyle has absolutely nothing to do with the selection of a target. Statistically when at attack occurs is involves grabbing the victim's clothes,arms or neck, not her hair. A rapist generally chooses his target based on the victim's body language, behavior, or lack of awareness. To prove this all we need to do is research the number of reported rapes that have occurred over the past year or two and then correlate those with the victim's hairstyle.

2) Again this is false. Clothings isn't a factor and they don't usually carry scissors around with them. In fact that tip is totally contradictory. If they chose a victim based on clothes that are easy to remove why would they need scissors?

3) This one is fairly accurate. Victims are often chosen based on their lack of awareness.

4) Statistics like that are almost never accurate. While we know that the greatest percentage of rapes occur in the nighttime and early morning hours more actually occur in nighttime hours.

5) As far as I know there is no actual research to support this one. The truth is that stranger abductions do occur but they do so far less often than acquaintance assaults. Also, a quick analysis of abductions shows us that they can happen almost anywhere to include from the victim's home, public sidewalks, from a stopped vehicle, etc.

6) This one is somewhat accurate if the attacker is looking to sexually assault the victim, or worse. There are 2 crime scene locations...Location #1 is where the initial contact takes place. Crime scene #2 is where the bad things happen. If an attacker attempts to move a person to a secondary location we know the likelihood of it escalating is great. Therefore the intended victim must be prepared to deal with the situation at the initial contact point and not allow themselves to be moved to a more secluded area. However, keep in mind that if the initial contact takes place in a secluded location like the victim's home or a dark parking lot, that would be considered the second crime scene location.

7) Rape and weapon laws vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That being the case I would never bet my life on the idea that an attacker isn't armed. The fact remains that anyone that has chosen to victimize others is breaking the law and it's a safe bet to assume they wouldn't be afraid of using any means to accomplish their objective, even using a weapon. However, with that said, statistically the majority of sexual assaults take place without the use of a weapon. This is based on the fact that attackers choose targets that are less likely to resist. In other words they choose a victim that won't fight back so they don't have to worry about using weapons. Although, that doesn't mean they aren't armed. The key is to avoid looking like an easy target!

8) Resistance is a good thing but it's no guarantee that the attacker will get discouraged and just give up. In fact, some attackers get off on women fighting back. The key is to know when, where, and how to apply resistance so that the likelihood of success is increased.

9) This one is also false. As stated targets are chosen based on body language, behaviors, and lack of awareness. If the target suits the selection process it doesn't matter what they are carrying. In fact, the more items the intended victim is carrying the easier the attack will be. In most cases even when armed with an improvised weapon like an umbrella, the person will not be mentally or physically prepared to use it as a weapon. Most times it doesn't even occur to the intended victim that they are holding a "weapon".

10) This one is applicable but depends on the situation. If the attacker has already selected you as his next target, it may not matter to him that you have seen his face. This is especially true if he doesn't plan to let you get away. It's definitely worth using but don't automatically assume it's guaranteed to work.

11) This is a basic common assertive response taught by self-defense instructors. It can be effective but also depends on the situation. If the initial contact takes place in a fairly secluded area there is a good chance it won't work.

12) Never...I repeat NEVER tell an attacker that you have pepper spray. Also, you want to avoid holding it out as a deterrent. Pepper Spray is only effective if it hits it's mark. If you warn an attacker that you have spray it provides him an opportunity to prepare himself. If you hold it out he can grab or deflect your arm, making the spray ineffective. He can protect his face with his hands or clothing as he rushes you, which reduces the effectiveness of the spray even if some of it hits his face. In some cases he may just take the shot to the face and keep coming. While pepper spray can be effective it is not guaranteed to stop an attacker. The key to making it effective is the element of surprise.

13) Please don't risk your life with the use of these lame pinching techniques. While these types of techniques work great in a controlled training environment, they tend to become ineffective when stress, adrenaline, anger, alcohol, drugs, etc become involved. The last time I checked these things are all common to real attacks. Instead focus on attacking vital areas such as the eyes or throat.

14) The groin is considered a secondary target and should not be thought of as a fight-stopping target. While there is a chance it will create a mild response in the majority of male attackers, that doesn't mean it will slow or stop them. I recommend that the groin be used in combination with the eyes and throat as mentioned previously.

15) Breaking a finger is definitely an option. However, don't be surprised if it doesn't stop or even slow the attacker. In fact, it may actually enrage him. When a finger is broken endorphins kick in and actually help to numb the injury. In other words, it may hurt for a short period but then becomes numb. If this person is intent on attacking you, it likely won't slow or stop them. The key to slowing or stopping an attack is by disrupting his computer, his brain. This can be done by attacking the eyes and throat as previously mentioned.

16) This one is right on. Awareness is the key to staying safe. If you have a solid understanding of awareness it's likely you will see an unsafe situation or person, allowing you to escape before it escalates to an actual attack.

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-27 years training in personal safety -Multiple martial arts black belts -Multiple instructor certifications -Certified law enforcement trainer -Crime Prevention Specialist -Previous self-defense trainer for one of the country's largest airlines -Child safety specialist -Certified Fitness Trainer -TACTIX Fitness Trainer -High Intensity Training Specialist -FAST Defense Instructor -Kid Escape Instructor
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