Anne Vitale Ph.D. Editor
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by Kelly Stevens
June 22, 2001
Updated August 13, 2011
For the genetic male who is transitioning to the female gender role, especially one who has lived strongly as a man for any length of time, one's personal conduct and situational awareness must undergo a significant re-evaluation. Many women are raised with this awareness while boys aren't even made aware of the differences in training. Yet many women are still subjected to assault, battery and worse every year because they were raised in different environments from which they are living in today. This is due to changes in neighborhoods as well as the mobility of our society which finds people raised even in medium sized cities living in large cities, and small towns, where expected behaviors are significantly different.Women raised in big cities where certain behaviors are considered conservative now find themselves working in small towns where the same behavior is considered provocative and the results are sanctioned by local courts and law enforcement authorities. I don't agree with it, but I get to read the post mortem sheets circulated in the safety community. I work as a safety person for my company. Below is a list of safety ideas extracted from a presentation for women from Pat Malone who is a specialist in personal safety. He teaches hand to hand combat as well as working as a body guard. These are great ideas for anyone, and MtFs might consider them as guides on how to be perceived more as a woman. I'm an engineer and a safety instructor. So I can't resist putting in some how to's as an addendum after this piece which I lifted from an email sent to me from another safety person.
HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME.
1. The three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence are:
a. Lack of awareness (you MUST know where you are & what's going on around you.)
b. Body language (keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up)
c. Wrong place, wrong time (DON'T be walking alone in an alley, or driving in a bad neighborhood at night)
2. 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 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 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. Check under the car as well. 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 drivers 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.
3. Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone.)
a. Do not get on an elevator if there is a weirdo already on there. (of course bad men don't always look bad).
b. Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator, be near the front, by the doors, ready to get off or on.
c. If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the Boogie Man gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on.
4. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS run!
a. POLICE only make 4 of 10 shots when they are in range of 3-9 feet. This is due to stress.
b. 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!
5. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT, it may get you raped, or killed.
a. 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.
b. Pat Malone tells the story of his daughter, who came out of the mall and was walking to her car when she noticed 2 older ladies in front of her. Then she saw a police car come towards her with 2 cops, and they said hello. She also noticed that all 8 handicap spots in the area were empty. As she neared her car she saw a man a few rows over calling to her, for help. He wanted her to close his passenger side door. He was sitting in the drivers side, and said he was handicap. He continued calling, until she turned and headed back to the mall, and then he began cursing at her. She wondered why he didn't ask the 2 older ladies, or the policeman for help, and why he was not parked in any of the empty handicap spots. As she got back to the mall, two male friends of hers were exiting, and as she told them the story, and turned to point at the car, a male was getting out of the back seat into the front, and the car sped away. DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THIS TRAP!
6. Tips to saving your life, if you have gotten into a violent situation: a. REACT IMMEDIATELY: If he abducts you in a parking lot, and is taking you to an abandoned area, DON'T LET HIM GET YOU TO THAT AREA.
* If you are driving, react immediately in the situation, and crash your car while still going 5 MPH.
* If he's driving, find the right time, and stick your fingers in his eyes. He must watch the road, so choose an unsuspecting time, and gouge him. It is your ONLY defense. While he is in shock, GET OUT. (This sounds gross, but the alternative is your fault if you do not act.)
b. RESIST: don't go along with him: run, if you are able:
* Scream. * You DO NOT want to get to crime scene # 1. DON'T EVER GIVE UP!
7. Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.
8. GET A CELL PHONE. a. There are packages for $19.95 a month that allow you to program only 911 into the dialing out program (this is for parents who say it is too expensive for their kids to have a cell phone.)
9. BREAK DOWNS: (avoid this by ALWAYS keeping your car in good working order)
a. If your car breaks down: you better have a cell phone to call for help, and lock your doors.
b. Keep a blanket, and a pair of warm clothes and boots, and a flashlight in your car always for emergencies.
c. If you don't have a cell phone: (shame on you) * If it's noon on a business day, you MAY want to put your hazards on and walk to safety. * If it's 2 a.m.: put on your warm clothes, and walk to a lighted area. * You are a perfect target if you are sitting in your car broken down. Predators search the highways for easy targets like you.
d. If you're on a desolate road: walk away from the car (in your warm clothes) and go to some bushes, or some area AWAY from your vehicle. It will be cold, and uncomfortable, but you DO NOT want to stay in your car, and there are no psychic boogiemen waiting in the bushes who knew you were going to break down.
10. Physical defenses that we can use against the violent predator:
a. The eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body. Poke him there, and you have (possibly) your only window of opportunity.
b. The neck is also a vulnerable spot, but you MUST know where to grip, AND HAVE THE STRENGTH to cut off his breath.
c. The last place is the KNEES. Everyone's knees are very vulnerable, and a swift kick here will take anyone down. -- A cautionary note about these things is that if you do not do these things right the first time, you are in trouble, because it will only anger the individual, and that anger will be TAKEN OUT ON YOU. I'm not saying don't attempt them (it may be your only hope), but be forceful when you do. --
11. If you are walking alone in the dark (which you shouldn't be) and you find him following/chasing you: a. Scream "FIRE!", and not "help". People don't want to get involved when people yell "help", but "fire" draws attention because people are nosy.
c. Find an obstacle, such as a parked car, and run around it, like ring around the rosie. This may sound silly, but over the years, 5 women have told Pat Malone that this SAVED THEIR LIVES.
d. Your last hope is getting under the car. Once you are under there, there are tons of things to hold on to, and he will not be able to get you out, and will not come under for you (most likely). Usually they give up by this point. The catch here is that YOU MUST PRACTICE GETTING UNDER THE CAR.
You must have a plan (he will have one); know if you will be going on your back, front, from the side or back of the car. It must be practiced.
12. Never let yourself or anyone that you know be a "closer" in any type of business (bar, store, restaurant, gas station). *Pat knew Danielle, a girl that just died from being shot point-blank by some kids while she was closing at the local gas station. * He talked with her the night before she died, and asked whether it ever scared her to close alone. She said yes, but said "I'll be alright, Pat. I'll be alright." She wasn't.
I didn't mean to scare you with any of this, but honestly, I hope it did. It should. Our world is not as safe as we pretend that it is, and living in our fantasy worlds WILL get us in trouble, sooner or later. "It won't happen to me" doesn't cut it, and is a bogus expectation anyway. Pat Malone said again and again that the women who die EVERY MINUTE from violent crimes expected to go to bed tonight, and get up tomorrow, and do it all over again, and again, and again. No one expects it, but we must be prepared and aware so that we HAVE A PLAN.
I would encourage you to pass this on to all women, not just your friends and family, but everybody. We all need to hear it.
ADDED COMMENTS from Kelly
Practice looking under your car as you approach it. It is a lot easier to turn around twenty feet from the car and go back because you don't like the looks of what is under the car than it is to escape with your ankle in someone's grip.
Get in the habit of walking around your car before you open the door to get in. Some companies require this of their drivers to insure that no children are playing near the vehicle and that nothing is so close that you must hit it to get out of the parking space. If someone asks you tell them you are just doing the same with your personal car because it makes sense. Which it does. It also lets you look into your car all the way around to insure no one is waiting.
Carry a small flashlight in your purse. A small single AA cell flashlight, or a little disposable one, throws an amazing amount of light at night. The flashlight is great for finding your keys, before you leave the building to go to your car. It is good for locating the keyhole so you don't scratch the car. It works real good when you bring your friend back to check out the funny shadow under the car. It will temporarily night blind an attacker waiting in or under the car to help your escape. It's great for shining into the car as you walk around it making sure it is empty. Make these behaviors a habit. Many molesters stalk their victims for awhile before closing for the final act. Your attentive behavior will tell them you're not an easy target and they'll go look for someone else.
When walking at night, or even during the day, walk in the middle of the sidewalk. "Like you own it!!!" That keeps you out of easy reach of someone hiding in a doorway or between cars. If there are no cars walk next to the curb. When parking your car, if you know that you will have to come back to it when the sun has gone down, park under a street light. You'll be able to see under the car more easily from farther away. You'll be able to see inside more easily before you open the door. Attackers won't linger as close to a lighted area.
Practice getting under your car when the weather is warm and you are wearing clothes you don't mind getting dirty and greasy. Practice getting under the car from all four sides. You may find that you can't get under from one side or the other because the new cars are built so low to the ground. You may find you can't get under the car at all. You need to know this so that you don't try and find out you don't fit while the attacker grabs your ankles and pulls you out. You also need to notice what you can hang onto while you're under there. Find two or three things depending upon which way you got under the car and which way you are facing. You might have driven out to get some milk and come right back to the car to find a problem. You won't be able to hold onto the exhaust pipe because it will be too hot. You need something else. Something might be too greasy to keep a good grip on when you crawl under in a rush and you need to find something dry and not too hot. If you have practiced you will know where to reach in the dark. Even if it's not your car you have to crawl under, having practiced and looked you'll be better equipped mentally to dive under a strange car to save yourself.
As silly as this sounds, practice changing your own tire. Many people, men and women, have been assaulted by people who stopped to "help" change a tire. Pick a nice day, a level, open parking lot, and wear your grungies again. I personally like Sunday at the library lot or Saturday at church lots. Get out the owner's manual and locate the jack, the jack handle, the lug wrench, the spare tire, and anything else that is required. I routinely drive five different vehicles, three from the same manufacturer. No two have the same way to change a tire, or the same equipment. Then go through the manual step by step to get the spare out of the vehicle and on the ground, get the car jacked up, the "flat" off the vehicle and the spare on.
When I test my children before allowing them to drive alone they have to put the tire that they took off back on so that my rotation routine isn't messed up. But they have to get the "flat" completely off the vehicle and laying down next to the spare. Then they have to get the "Flat-spare" back up and onto the vehicle and tightened down.
Watch the pattern that the lug nuts are tightened in. The pattern IS important! Then put everything back the way it was. I then recommend if you are not real strong that you go to your favorite tire store and ask them to check the torque on the lug nuts so that the nuts are on tight enough. Check the air pressure in the spare at the same time. Get them to show you how to do it and let you try/practice. It doesn't hurt to read the manual a day or two before you go practice. If the manual doesn't make sense to you ask a mechanic friend to explain what is meant, or go to the dealer and ask for an explanation. I have read some manuals that are useless, and I'm an engineer who prides themselves in being able to repair machinery, so if you can't understand what the manual is saying, it might be the manual's problem, not yours.
I also recommend taking a friend with you to practice the tire change. Two people discourage undesired help better than one. And if there is an accident someone is there to go for help. Jacks do fail dropping the vehicle and sometimes injuring people. That's why you practice on a nice day in a flat lot, not at night, in the cold, on the side of the road which is usually tilted, and with traffic going by. In thirty five years of driving I've only changed one tire when I had a level place to do it, most of the time I have done it in the dark and cold. So I'm only speaking from personal experience here on where not to practice.
By the way, if the lug nuts are too tight for you to loosen when you are practicing, before you jack up the car, put the lug wrench on the nut and place the jack under the handle of the lug wrench. Then jack up the lug wrench. The weight of the car will do the work for you. You might need a second lever to work the jack if the jack handle and lug wrench are the same tool. But that is why you are practicing.
If you need more tools you have the time to get them before you need them. And when adding tools, don't forget the wheel chock for the far side of the diagonal wheel. Most owner's manuals tell you to use one and I have only seen one new vehicle from the dealer delivered with one. In line with maintaining your vehicle in top mechanical condition, the next time you have the oil changed, you do have it changed regularly, like every three months or three thousand miles, right?, have your mechanic show you how to check the oil, the transmission fluid, the brake fluid, the steering fluid, battery level, clean the battery terminals, and check the radiator fluid. Check the radiator when it is cold so you don't burn yourself. I have checked it hot and I have burned myself. Checking these levels every time you get fuel is not difficult and you learn how your car is behaving. If you suddenly are loosing oil, or it changes color, or you see other strange things it is an early warning to get the car to a mechanic while the fix is hopefully cheap. Cheap might be a lot of money but consider the pain to your body if the car quits and you are attacked.
Ms Stevens wants everyone to know that this material is offered free of charge and may be used and copied freely as long as no charge is made to anyone. If more than ten percent of the material is used it should show appropriate credits to Mr. Malone and Ms Stevens , as applicable.