In the last few weeks as I have been telling people about our self protection courses I have heard time and time again about the number of carjackings that appear to be increasing in the Birmingham area over the last few weeks/months. As women tell me about these incidents, I see the fear in their eyes, I hear the helplessness in their voice, and I remember what it felt like to feel powerless against criminals.
Because these violent acts are so far out of our own behavior choices, the fact that someone can be okay with themselves when they pull a gun on a person and threaten them, well, it frankly can raise a persons fear level to level: Hyperventilation. We can’t understand it, so how can we ever protect ourselves from it?
I did a quick search and found multiple headlines that just seem to spread this fear. It has gotten so prevalent that the police are issuing warnings about it. Check out a few of them I found.
When we are bombarded with these types of headlines and news reports, it can many times make us feel that there is nothing we can do except hope that WE aren’t targeted by these criminals. Well, I want to give you some things you CAN do to keep yourself safe.
In our programs we cover many different topics to help you come up with a personal safety plan. It focuses on having multiple layers of security to make it hard for a criminal to get o you. It gives you many tools you can put in your “safety tool box” so that you are prepared if crime does find you. One of these topics is auto security.
In the auto security section of this class, we talk about techniques that criminals will use when they have targeted a person. One of them is exactly what these criminals have been using in these recent carjackings. The criminal will generally wait until you are alone at a red light or in a non-populated area, then they bump into your car with their vehicle. We have been programmed to get out of our car when there is an accident and assess the damage. This is when the criminal attacks. Luckily for the victims of the carjackings above, the crooks just wanted their vehicles. This could have gone so much worse.
One of our main goals at LaBCaF is to empower the women we teach. We assist women in transforming from fear to strength through empowerment. One of the techniques we talk about is playing the “what if” game. The way this works is in every part of your day, ask yourself “what if” there is a criminal in the area, what could I do to avoid or escape an attack?
Let’s break down some carjacking scenarios and see what the options are. There you are, it’s late and you are going home from your late night shift, you are tired, and you are just thinking about how good the warm sheets are going to feel when you climb into bed.
And suddenly, out of no where you get bumped from behind. What are your options? Now here is the tricky part, as women many times we ignore that woogy woogy feeling that happens in our gut. We tell ourselves that we are just being silly, and convince ourselves to ignore it. The safe thing to do is to just go ahead and listen to the woogy woogy even if it is “just being silly.”
In this scenario, you have multiple options, you can get out of your car and check out the damage and hope this is just a “normal” accident. You can get your pepper spray out of our purse, and then go check the damage. You can sit in your car and call the police and wait in the car until they get there. Or you can stay in your car and drive to the nearest populated gas station, calling the police as you go, and then in the safety of other people, and with the police knowing where you are, you can then handle the accident details.
You can see that there are many options you can choose. Don’t be caught up in having to be polite or nice, this is your life. You can be nice AFTER you are safe. Girls, take care of yourself, choose you! Know that you are worth fighting for, and that you are your own personal knight in shining armor.
There is one more scenario I want you to think through. I see this time and time again when I am filling my car up with gas. I see so many girls filling up their car with their car door wide open, stereo blaring, keys in the ignition, and there they are staring at their phones while they wait for the gas pump to click off when their car is full. ARRRGGGHHH! Don’t do this! Be safe! Let’s talk about how.
When you get to the gas pump, first before you unlock your car and get out, look around. Be aware of who and what is around you. Check in with your intuition, does anything look off? Feel off? Sound off? Then when you get out of your car, take your keys with you, and then lock the door behind you. Don’t give anyone the option to getting into the passenger side door to surprise you. Then after you have the gas pumping, keep looking around. Be present and aware. Keep your eye on the people coming and going. If you were approached what avenues do you have to escape? What tools do you have around you that you could use to fight off an attack. Don’t forget that you have a strong voice, you can shout out and get attention, Shout Loud and Proud…you are worth it. What about the gas nozzle? It is spewing highly flammable fluid…can you imagine a shot to the eyes with that?
These are just a few options you can use to avoid or get out of a bad situation. What other ways can you see? I assure you, there are more.
See you soon! Onward and upward! You are worth the fight!
-Penny…Fellow Warrior Princess