FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How To Handle Yourself In A Potential Assault Situation
Recently a friend of mine e-mailed some advice on how to handle a potential assault situation that I would like to share with my readers.
A group of rapists and date rapists were interviewed in prison in what they looked for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:
- The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are more likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can be easily grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
- 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 to cut the clothing.
- Rapist also look for women on cell phones, searching through their purses, or doing other activities while walking because they can be caught off guard and can be easily overpowered.
- The time of day men are most likely to attack and rape a woman is in the early morning between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
- The main places women are abducted from /attacked are grocery store parking lots, office parking lots, and garages. Public restrooms are a close second.
- The thing about these men is they are looking to grab a woman and quickly remove her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.
- If you put up a fight, many get discouraged but this is not always true.
- These men said they would not pick on women who had 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 up really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. The idea is to convince these men that you are really not worth it.
- If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or is with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question or make small talk. Examples would be “What time is it?” or “I can’t believe it is so cold out there.”
Now you have seen their face and could identify them in a line-up. Thus, you lose your appeal as a target.
- If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you, and yell “STOP” OR “STAY BACK”. Most of the rapists interviewed said they would leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an easy target.
- Carry pepper spray and hold it out yelling “I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY”.
- If someone grabs you from behind around the waist pinch the attacker between the elbow and the arm pit or in the upper thigh - HARD. One woman pinched a guy who was trying to date rape her so hard that she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands. The guy needed stitches.
- After the initial hit try going for the groin. This usually stops them.
- When a 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.
- Of course basic things still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can. If you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. Just because you live in a small town or in Montana doesn’t mean you are immune to the dangers of rape.
Dr. Leta A. Livoti Ph.D.,LCSW, LCPC is a psychotherapist in Thompson Falls. She can be contacted at 827-0700