- Trust your instincts. If something "feels wrong" (with a person, a building, a situation, etc.), something probably is wrong. Even if you don't know why you are uncomfortable, change your plans, move away from the person, get out of the area - whatever is necessary to make the feeling go away.
- Know yourself. How do you react in crisis situations? Do you scream, cry, freeze? What might be your personal defense options? Every situation is different.
- In any annoying or dangerous situation, you will be the best judge of what you need to do to handle the situation. There is no "right" approach .
Strategies In Case Of Assault
- Non-resistance to prevent physical violence.
- Stall for time.
- Distracting or diverting the assailant, then fleeing. Verbal Assertiveness.
- Screaming, using a whistle or shriek alarm to attract attention and help.
- Physical resistance - the testicle squeeze or eye gouge. If done with 100% effort, it can be two physical resistance techniques which could be used as a last ditch effort to escape an attacker.
Some OPTIONS that women have found effective
- Show your anger, not your fear. Although it is natural to feel afraid, a frightened reaction generally does not stop an attack; a furious reaction often will. Remember an attacker wants an easy victim and will frequently back down from the prospect of a fight. Yelling may be one way of demonstrating your anger. Generally you do not want to insult the subject; rather yell "stay away" or "don't bother me," etc.
There is a possibility showing your anger may cause the attacker to become violent, but it is more likely he will flee.
- If there are other people around, you can loudly call attention to what the assailant is doing ("Get your hands off me!" "This man is bothering me", and so on). Sometimes women are afraid that an embarrassed offender will try to retaliate, but again it is more likely he will flee.
- If you are alone and don't know anyone on the street or in the neighborhood, try yelling a name to make the attacker think someone will be coming out to help you (that is, "Bill!, Terry!, Come here, help!"). If you are home alone you can use this same strategy.
- If someone has a weapon, stay calm and wait for an opportunity. You may be able to talk him into putting the weapon down, he may put the weapon down spontaneously, or he may be distracted for a moment. Weapons make the situation more dangerous and difficult, but there still may be something you can do.
- Be cautious around people asking for spare change or money to wash your car windows, etc. A number of these people are taking advantage of the current economic and homeless situation; they use the money they receive for alcohol and/or drugs and some of these people are very dangerous.
For More Safety Information
Consider taking a "Self-Defense for Women" class. You may be surprised at what you will learn about yourself and what you may be capable of doing in a crisis situation. This class is highly recommended. Call the Office for Women and Men at (213) 740-4900 or the USC Department of Public Safety, Crime Prevention and Community Education Unit at (213) 740-6224 for information.
Consider scheduling a Personal Safety Program which lasts approximately one hour and covers the following areas: robbery, carjackings, rapes, who are the targets; who is the rapist and why; safety tips; self-defense ideas; acquaintance rape; and obtaining help. Crime stats and maps will be shown and discussed concerning incidents at USC. Contact the Crime Prevention Unit at (213) 740-6224.