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The following are some basic safety tips to help you recognize and avoid dangerous situations

Have a plan. Understand that you could be the victim of a violent crime anywhere at anytime. Think about what you would do in a certain situation (i.e., answering your front door, driving home, taking money out of a ATM )
Assess your surroundings. Understand that most sexual predators and street criminals plan their crimes (at least to some extent), most also look for certain characteristics that make for good targets. It is safe to assume that the assailant has been watching you for a while before he initiates the attack. Act confident and be aware of your surroundings.

Do whatever it takes. If the aggressor wants material possessions like your brand new leather coat or the contents in your purse - give them up because they are not with risking a physical confrontation. We suggest that under these conditions you strike first. The assailant has chosen you as his victim because he views you as an easy target, your decision to strike first at him will not be expected.

Remember the street safety steps. When a stranger approaches you in an isolated area and your instincts tell you something isn't right about the situation - always act on your instincts. Maintain at least a 3 - 5 feet distance out of the reach of the aggressor. Face the aggressor, running is only an option if you can get to a safe place before he catches up to you. Keep your hands free, look at his neck area (do not look down or turn away). If he asks a question, no matter how legitimate it may seem, respond negatively. For example, if he asks for directions to main street - respond with a "no, I can't help you" If he comes up with more questions tell him to leave you alone.

Things to avoid. Never allow yourself to be taken by the aggressor to a secondary location, never go in the aggressor's vehicle or in your own vehicle with the aggressor. If you find yourself in a situation where the aggressor is taking you to a secondary location, do whatever it takes to avoid going there (i.e., at a low speed pull the steering wheel in an attempt to crash into a parked car, sound the horn, jump out.. Perhaps you can cause an opportunity to escape his grasp by causing a scene). Also, never allow yourself to be tied up.

Things to remember. Women are faced with a disadvantage, traditional ways of educating our children are responsible not allowing girls an opportunity to defend themselves in threatening situations. Women can do a great deal to reduce the threat of violence. Empowering young women with the resources to recognize and escape the violence is what we consider an essential life-skill that should be part of the high school curriculum across the nation.

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Last modified: April 5,2013