Being Followed – stalked?
One. The most common complaint that I get from girls/ladies/women during conduct of my WOSAF (Women Safety) workshop is, “so, what do we do?” Really? The first and foremost thing that we MUST do while outside is: the Number ONE thing – Get off your phone, remove the headset. You are neutralizing the most powerful systems inbuilt in you to sense danger. One can smell danger. One can feel danger. Your Amygdala! The almond shaped mass of grey matter in front of your temporal lobe of the cerebrum, is part of the limbic system. It is involved in processing and expressing emotions, instincts and survival. When your body gears up for flight, fight or freeze mode, your entire brain stops and is controlled by your amygdala!The moment you switch on the head phones, you are short circuiting the basic survival process. Your senses get numbed and your awareness of your surrounding gets impaired. Your ears are part of this ‘sensing danger’ process. Let is be. You may train for listening techniques to sharpen your instincts. But while in public, remove those plugs.
Two. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are new to the place, it would be worthwhile to check out with whomsoever you are staying with (hotel, relatives, friends) about the neighbourhood. Know in general the ATMs in your route to work/college/school/or wherever you are going – especially if it involves walking. ATMs have a 24/7 guard and could be of assistance, if required. The security camera can assist get the bad guys. Know the location of the police station, any pubs/bars/liquor dens in your route.You would know the roads/lanes to avoid after certain time. Know which street lights are non-functional in your lane. Raise a complaint.
Three. Be physically fit and mentally agile. As a routine be physically fit. It is not about being fat or thin. It is a fitness regime. Walks, runs, sits-ups, push-ups, yoga, walking up the stairs or any form or exercise which will keep you physically fit. It is an imperative. Being mentally agile involves your being quick on the thinking, buoyant, sharp, athletic. This will help you keep your wits about you during a time of crises. Knowing some self defence techniques helps but is not mandatory. A number of times I’ve been queried, whether WOSAF helps? Well, does knowing swimming prevents you from drowning? Your chances of survival increases .. similarly with WOSAF. Your chances of coming out unscathed from such situations increases.
Four. It helps if your loved ones know where you are or about your whereabouts. This is not about your privacy being intruded – we are talking about your very survival here! It is always advisable to let your friend/family know where you are going tonight and how would you return. With cabs available on a phone call away, driving after drinking is never a good option. But the issues with a cab need to be addressed before hand. Better safe and sure than regret later. While in the cab speak (in the language the driver understands) to your friend/ family about the approximate time it would take to reach, your present location and the number of the cab.
Be Alert . Be Aware . Be Safe .