The other night while cooking dinner M told me about an article she had read and wondered if the information in it was valid.
As a side note, I found this conversation extremely heartwarming because not only did M read the article, something she never would have done a few months back, she came to discuss it with me. While we have a very good relationship and excellent communication, she rarely if ever brings up the subject of self defense. It is discussed only when I initiate it
Back to the article. It was a somewhat flippant post on a blog that was linked through Pintrest. Most of the article I knew was bunk. Things like the way a woman looks or the types of clothes she wears have long since been proven to be false. Women of all shapes, sizes, hair colors, styles, ages, etc have been mugged, raped and murdered. However, the part of the article I was unsure about was where the crimes most often occur.
The article states that grocery store parking lots are most often the scene of the attacks. Clearly(if you have been reading me a while), you can see why that would be of particular interest to me.
I did some research on the internet and found a few older, out dated sites that seem to generically support that idea. They said things like “on the streets outside of commercial buildings”. However, I did not have a lot of confidence in the sources, so I emailed Greg Ellifritz and asked if he could shed any light or point me to some credible resources. I wanted to be able to give M the best possible information.
He sent a very detailed response.
I am going to copy and paste his entire email here. I realize many of you are aware of what is truth and what is myth about women being attacked, but many, many people do not. I think it is important to let women know that this article is full of false, misleading and potentially dangerous information. I also wanted to supply some more credible facts.
It’s almost completely untrue! This started out as an email that made its rounds rapidly around the year 2003. I’ve had students ask me a bout it almost every month since then.
1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.
They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
No evidence of this in any piece of literature. The only time I’ve seen hair pulls is in girl fights and domestic violence incidents. I’ve never heard of a stranger attack that was initiated by a hair grab or pull.
2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing
Not true. Clothing may be a factor in some rapists’ justification (“she was dressed like a slut. she wanted it”), but ease of removal is not a concern. If so, hospital patients wearing gowns would be the most raped population in the world. So would any medical professional wearing scrubs as a uniform. They aren’t.
3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.
4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.
False. Number one location is in or around the woman’s home.
6] Number three is public restrooms.
Really? Wouldn’t a guy garner a little attention if he entered a woman’s restroom?
7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.
Possible, but only in a “stranger rape”. Most rapists are people who are familiar to the victim and the rapes occur at the victim’s home.
8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.
9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.
No research supporting this.
10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.
True. Punching with keys doesn’t cause much damage and usually hurts the puncher as well.
POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER:
1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.
Maybe, but no guarantee. A better option is to be more forceful and direct in ordering him to get away.
2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.
Good advice…but most effective against strangers.
3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.
No. Keep it hidden until you use it. If you pull it out and threaten me with it, I’ll cover my eyes, move in and take it from you.
4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.
Doesn’t work if the rapist has a diminished pain response, is high, mentally ill, or drunk.
5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our
instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there.
Not a terrible target, but not the best either. Go for eyes or throat.
6] When the 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 as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.
May work, but it depends on the situation
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
Most current cars have an interior latch to open the trunk lid. I’d use this first.
b. If you! u 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 driver’s 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. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).
Generally good, but not always. What if there is a creepy guy in the elevator? I had a student who was raped in the elevator of her own office building.
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! 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!
Good advice. The stat isn’t perfect, but probably pretty close.