Ladies, I never thought I’d be worried about my safety while shopping, much less walking to my car on a sunny day in Knoxville, TN. A recent story that made headlines received my full attention - a 20-year-old woman was almost abducted while walking to her car in a shopping center parking lot in broad daylight. Her pleas for help and screaming alerted fast acting citizens who came to her aide. One of the perpetrators did get away and the other was arrested. The missing suspect was finally detained in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, he made it that far before he was caught!! With a lengthy criminal history and a known violent sexual predator, my mind raced with thoughts of what if this guy had been successful in his attempt to abduct this woman… and how many other victims are out there that didn’t report this or didn’t survive to report what happened to them. I am disturbed not only by this incident in our local area but also by the many other tragedies happening to women all over the world.
While working at Brookhaven Retreat, I have had the privilege and honor to speak with women from all over the US and abroad who draw from tremendous inner strength to share their painful stories with me, which often include rape or sexual trauma. I am often the sounding board for many of these women as there is no way to immediately end their suffering. Often the opportunity to share the pain with someone you know cares helps ease the pain but it isn’t a solution and most of these women need long-term residential treatment to deal with the trauma.
What is most striking to me is that many of these instances often go unreported to authorities. I realize we have laws to protect us but we have to be aware of how to protect ourselves as well. I am so moved by these women and their stories and the bravery of the victim in the attempted abduction in Knoxville it spurred me to compile a list of safety tips for our readers to help you be aware and safe. I encourage you to share this with your daughters, your girlfriends, etc. Pass it on.
Please read them and feel free to add to my list and send us your comments and share your thoughts and experiences. I would love to hear from you.
Dress to send a chill but not to kill. Dress comfortably when walking alone. After all it’s hard to run in a skirt or a dress much less putting up a fight would be way more challenging. So wear comfortable clothes when walking alone.
Get your Ninja on! Take a self-defense class. It builds strength, self-confidence and self-awareness. And teaches you how to handle confrontation effectively.
Forget fashion faux pas - give up the high heels - unless you’re walking with a group. It is hard to run in heels not to mention painful.
Have you ever heard of the saying keep your eye on the ball? Stay aware of who is around you and make eye contact with those you encounter. Actually by looking into the face of potential enemy or threat you may deter them from acting out as you could then identify them.
Think on your feet and don’t text while walking alone or walking to your car as it causes you to look down and become unaware of your environment making you a perfect unsuspecting victim caught up in text.
Take the elevator avoid the stairways. While on the elevator step to the front to be the first one off the elevator if someone makes you uncomfortable.
Be suspicious and fight the urge to be sympathetic. Take care of you first. If someone needs assistance and you are alone, do not stop. Once you’re in a safe place take the time and call the police for that person or coordinate a group of friends to help that person.
Remember, history has shown, many serial killers and other criminals use tactics like playing on the sympathies of women to lure them into a dangerous situation.