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Question
There has been a report on the local media about a number of assaults, both sexual and robbery, against women returning from work.  The staff welfare officer requested to give a presentation to female colleagues on what they can do to avoid becoming victims.  Can you assist me to outline my talk?

Answer
There are lots of things you might include in your presentation.

A handout about domestic violence is another good thing to have available.  At least 1 in 4 women will experience this sometime in their lives, so it is likely that sooner or later some of them will end up in your class, though they might not be willing to identify themselves. http://www.ndvh.org  and  http://www.usdoj.gov/ovw/ have lots of info.

National Center for Victims of Crime http://www.ncvc.org has a huge amount of good information, including a teen program.

The most important thing is to be alert at all times.  Don't be polite if someone you don't know tries to talk to you on the street, because many criminals "test" potential victims.  Don't stop, don't answer their question, just keep walking and say loudly "I can't help you."  Always wear shoes you can run in if necessary; always run if that will take you out of danger.

Fight only as a last resort, but be prepared to fight.  Give yourself permission, in advance, to hurt someone if he is trying to hurt you.

Always carry with you things that can be used as improvised weapons.  For example, you can take a newspaper or magazine, roll it very tightly, and you have a surprisingly solid club you can strike with.  Choose jewelry or hair ornaments that can be removed quickly and are solid enough to use as weapons.  Drop something heavy in a sock, hold it by the open end, and swing it.  Don't have a sock?  Tie off the wrist of a blouse or sweater and drop your heavy object in there.  Tie something heavy in the corner of a shawl, and you have another swinging weapon.  You can find some good examples at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improvised_weapons, http://www.home-cov.demon.co.uk/improv.htm  Try to get people in your audience to come up with their own ideas for what they could use to fight with.

Here are some other websites that have info about resisting crimes:
http://www.womensdefensecenter.com/self1.htm
http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/09/21/how-to-most-effectively-prevent-purs
http://www.borderstan.com/01/police-tips-protect-yourself-from-robbery-assault/
You can probably find a lot more by googling the specific crimes you want to teach people to avoid.

You are also welcome to use anything from the AWARE website, http://www.aware.org

Good luck with your presentation.    Stay safe,   Lyn  

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Lyn Bates

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Are you being stalked? I can help evaluate the amount of danger you are in, and can provide very specific suggestions for increasing your safety, and for managing your situation. As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women`s Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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