Have you ever felt frightened or intimidated when out walking alone? Have you ever stood at the bus stand and were ogled by the road side romeo? Have you wondered what you would do in case you get involved in any such an incident?
The sad reality is that we are living increasingly in a violent society in which the fear of crime against women is increasing. Personal safety has become an issue of importance for women. Situational Awareness is something every man in uniform is trained in. They know instinctively to sense danger. They can smell fear; their brains and body align to fight off life threatening situations instantly.
As always, I share some action points for safety.
+ If you are feeling unsafe – you are right. Your ‘gut feel’ is triggered genetically and it sends across the right signals to your brain and prepares your body for the flight or fight mode. If you think, something is amiss, you are right. The sudden quiet, a dark street, a gang of rowdies. Trust your gut feel.
+ Science says that women have wider peripheral vision and men have long distance tunnel vision. It means she can receive an arc of at least 45 degree clear vision to each side of her head and above and below her nose. Many women’s peripheral vision is up to almost 180 degree. Women don’t have to turn their heads to know the road-side romeo in green shirt standing in the bus stand. She knows. Situational awareness prepares you mentally to be in state Yellow.
In condition yellow, you remain relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you. This merely means that you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you. Condition yellow DOES NOT equate with paranoia. Its your attention that will prevent you from being totally surprised by the actions of another person. While walking through an area you will loosely keep track of anyone behind you. When choosing a seat in a restaurant, you will position yourself to see the entrance or to minimize the number of people who might be behind you.
+ Your best option is escape. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you). Run away, yell for help (No, don’t shout help; shout “Fire, Fire”), throw a rock through a car window; do whatever you can to attract attention. Dictum is ‘if he has a gun, run’. Fat chance he can shoot straight.
+ Be aware of the legal aspects of ‘Self-Defence’. Understand emotions can’t be produced in a court of law as evidence. I “felt unsafe” and hence I attacked him. That feeling cannot be produced as evidence. And when you quote “self-defence’ – in the eyes of the law, you have stated that “yes, I did it” and the onus to prove your innocence is yours (otherwise, law sees you as innocent, till proven guilty). More on the legal aspects in my subsequent blogs. Yes, be aware.
Situational awareness will help you stay safe. Be Alert . Be Aware . Be Safe .