Violence—You Can Protect Yourself
BRITAIN’S Home Office recently pioneered a new form of training for the prison service, called “control and restraint.” The training is broken down into three headings:
◼ Controlling and restraining an individual by teamwork
◼ Breakaway techniques for staff who are on their own
◼ Handling concerted aggression, such as riots
The course “is not intended as an aggressive form of unarmed combat,” explains a Home Office spokesman. “Every other option and means of controlling and defusing a situation should be tried first.” In other words: Avoid Confrontation! How valid is such thinking?
What About Self-Defense?
Although the martial arts are often advocated, their use in self-defense against criminals is not endorsed as an option for most people. The publication Violence—A Guide for the Caring Professions explains:
“There has usually been little support for the teaching of complex self defence skills, not only because the main aim of training is seen as prevention but also because of their frequent impracticality. . . . Moreover such procedures may be limited in their applicability in settings like confined, cluttered spaces and will often involve the trainee in considerably more harm and injury during training than would be experienced in a professional lifetime of risk of attack.”
In Self Defence in Action, Robert Clark, national coach of the British Jiu Jitsu Association, goes further, saying: “Like all things learned for the first time, they [martial arts] will require a great amount of initial effort before their performance becomes second nature and can be performed without conscious thought. When you are attacked, you simply won’t have time to think about which move follows what.”
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a charity established in memory of a 25-year-old woman who mysteriously disappeared during the course of her secular work in London in 1986, likewise recommends self-defense only as a last resort.
If martial arts are not the answer to combat an unexpected act of violence, what is?
Coping With Muggers
The key to coping with muggers is to avoid making yourself vulnerable. As a police inspector in Leeds, England, noted: “Mugging is an opportunist business, that’s the thing to remember.” So if circumstances compel you to be in an unsafe area, stay alert. Don’t give muggers an opportunity. Act in keeping with the Bible principle: “A sensible man foresees danger, and hides from it; but the simple pass on, and are punished.”—Proverbs 22:3, An American Translation.
Keep your eyes moving over the street ahead and occasionally look behind. Look ahead before entering a block—anticipate danger. Try to avoid traveling alone after dark. If you are at a meeting place, wait to walk home with a friend. When driving your automobile, make sure that all doors are locked. If they are not, a criminal can easily enter when you stop at a signal.
But what if, despite your precautions, you suddenly find yourself face-to-face with someone who has a knife or a gun? Remember: Your life is your priority. No possession can exceed its value. So if your attacker wants money, give it to him. Some people living in dangerous areas carry ‘mugger money’—a little money in a wallet or purse to satisfy a mugger.
Remember too: Act calmly. Speak firmly and with your normal voice. Look the person in the eye, and try to hold his gaze. Do not reply in kind to insults or threats. Apply the Bible counsel: “An answer, when mild, turns away rage.” “Be gentle toward all.” (Proverbs 15:1; 2 Timothy 2:24) Be ready to apologize even though there may not really be anything to apologize for.
Rape and Home Security
“Many rapists are surprised at how easy it is to rape a woman,” writes Ray Wyre in Women, Men and Rape. “Her terrified paralysis is interpreted as a lack of protest which commonly becomes an offender’s excuse for going ahead with the attack.” So, never acquiesce! Make it clear that you are not going to submit. You can use any means at your disposal to avoid intercourse. Even if you are not a strong fighter, you have a powerful weapon—your voice.
Scream as loud as you can. That is in keeping with the advice of the Bible. (Deuteronomy 22:23-27) One teenager, dragged into a secluded park area, yelled hard and resisted. This so startled her attacker that he ran away. Screaming can unnerve your assailant and may thus give you a chance to escape, or it will alert others to come to your aid.*
In Britain, most cases of rape occur indoors, quite often in the home of the woman being attacked. An increasing number of these attacks occur during burglaries. It makes sense, therefore, to ensure that your home is as safe as possible. In this regard, what can you do?
You should secure all possible means of entry by using strong window latches and dead-bolt locks for the doors. Such a lock requires the use of your key to turn the bolt when you are leaving and a turn of the bolt when you are inside. In addition, it may be wise to obtain a door chain. But remember, such a device is only as strong as the doorframe and the bolts that secure the chain.
Another wise precaution is to check the credentials of all callers. Ask for their ID cards.
Violence is not decreasing. Indeed, statistics from around the world reveal that it is increasing. Doing what we can now to protect ourselves and our loved ones is prudent, but it does not entirely solve the problem. What really is the answer?
For detailed discussions of the subject of rape, see Awake! issues of May 22, 1986, February 22, 1984, and July 8, 1980.
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What You Can Do
◼ Plan your journey, especially if at night, to avoid unlit roadways and deserted streets. Remember, too, that you can run faster in flat shoes than in high-heeled ones.
◼ Never accept a lift from a stranger. Do not be lured out of your vehicle on any pretext. Any repairs are best made by somebody you know and in a safe place, not by a stranger at the side of the road.
◼ Walk near the curb, well away from the buildings where a potential attacker may be lurking in a doorway or alley.
◼ If you see a group of suspicious-looking persons ahead, cross the street to avoid them, or change direction. If you are followed, step into the street. If danger seems imminent, run or call for help.
◼ Carry a screech alarm in your hand, not in your purse. Noise can often send a would-be attacker on his way.
◼ Avoid entering an elevator if you sense danger from the occupants. When in an elevator, stand next to the control panel. If a suspicious-looking person gets in, it may be wise to get out.
◼ Carry credit cards and other valuables in a separate place on your person. In this way, even if your purse is snatched, your loss will not be as great.
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Watch for “Steaming”
In Britain, “steaming” is a new word to describe the activity of teenagers who swarm en masse into a store, a bus, or a train, intimidating those they encounter. They rely on sheer weight of numbers to threaten and steal, sometimes with violence. So, wisely, do not wear jewelry or other valuables that can easily be seen and snatched. Carry a wallet or a purse containing a little money—keeping important papers and credit cards elsewhere—and be prepared to hand it over. If you readily give “steamers” something, they may leave you and quickly pass on.
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Will you struggle to keep your money and perhaps lose your life?
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When attacked sexually, the best thing a woman can do is SCREAM
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Quality locks are vital for securing your home
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Check credentials before letting someone in