Remain unpredictable! If you have been targeted by an abuser he/she probably knows your normal routine and routes traveled. Never underestimate how far they will go to confront and attack you. This will take effort as we are all creatures of habit and convenience. Remember you may get lucky many times, but your attacker only needs to be lucky ONCE.
Examples: Switching daycare locations if feasible. Showing up at different times, rescheduling events and/or appointments, shopping at different food stores, eating at different locations, choosing another bar/restaurant that you normally frequent, getting off at different bus stops, utilizing different modes of travel, varying up your route, etc.
We understand these changes are not easy and will be tough to implement, but they must be used to decrease the chances you will be attacked or harassed. Start a habit TODAY
Familiarize yourself with all exits, including windows. Try to know where they lead if you have to use them.
Carry inexpensive security items such as panic alarms and pepper spray and keep them readily accessible in your hand. These items, if used properly, can thwart or stall an attacker which can allow you to escape or draw attention to your situation.
Travel with someone whenever possible.
Mentally rehearse “what if” plans such as an escape plan, a barricade plan, or a fight plan.
Look for items that may be used as an improvised weapon.
Establish areas as a “safe haven” in the event of an attack. These areas should ideally provide a way to escape and are easy to barricade.
Do NOT post on social media where you are going. Ensure your location setting on a smartphone is set to OFF.
Loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes can help you move faster in an emergency.
If you suspect you are being followed, attempt to make eye contact with the individual. This demonstrates that you are aware of your surroundings and not a “soft target”. If this person is in fact following you, you are subtly letting them know you are aware and have a visual of their face
If you feel you are being followed, employ tactics such as circling around or “doubling back”. Go into stores and/or stop frequently. If the individual is mirroring your movements then chances are they are following you.
Occasionally glance behind you to scan for threats.
Be weary your abuser may use friends and family who are unfamiliar with the situation to find out your routine or how to contact you! Tell neighbors/friends/family about your situation. This may be uncomfortable but is necessary to stay safe.
Change locks if possible. If not, add a bolt lock. (can purchase one at a hardware store)
Use inexpensive items to keep windows and sliding doors locked such as blocks of wood.
Every night ensure doors and windows are locked. Use a chair to wedge against a doorknob if that is all you have.
If possible, have a security system installed.
If comfortable, a defense weapon that is only accessible and known to you should be kept nearby.
Rehearse options in the event of an attack. These options include escaping, barricading, and fighting.
Ensure no one has followed you as you approach your home. Attackers will wait until you are at your door and force themselves in.
Look for any unusual signs as you approach your home
When feasible, have someone meet you at your home if you feel worried
Ensure you have quick escape routes when having to stop at a light. Leave space between you and the car in front of you.
Vary your routes whenever possible.
Scan mirrors for potential threats following you. When in doubt you are being followed, stay in motion and circle block to confirm.
If you are being followed, immediately call 911 and ensure you are in populated areas. Travel to police station.
Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
STAY OFF YOUR PHONE when approaching your vehicle or when you first get in. Being on your phone completely erases your situational awareness.
Immediately get in vehicle when leaving a location, lock doors, and drive away. If you MUST use your phone, do a quick scan of your surroundings after you have locked your doors.
Whenever you stop, leave vehicle in drive with foot on brake. Use mirrors and scan your surroundings before exiting or if at a drive through (ATM’s, fast food, etc)
Always scan before you exit vehicle as well. You should leave vehicle running and in drive with foot on the brake as you do this. When satisfied no threats are present, place vehicle in park, turn off car, and exit.
During an attack:
Strike hard to the face with an open palm repeatedly and furiously.
If able to deploy pepper spray, aim for eyes/forehead area
Drop anything in your hands that cannot be used to defend yourself or will get in the way of your escape.
Deploy panic alarm if possible. If attacker is too close reaching for pepper spray or panic alarm may not be an option.
Strike hard, fast, furious, and earn the space necessary to escape. Do NOT stay and fight. Your goal is to escape, not win.
FYO also holds private lessons for anyone and any organization in exchange for a donation. Contact us on here or through lessons.com to register! All classes are interactive with props, pads, and scenario-based. Plus a TON of fun!