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The headlines in the news media today are centered on the abductions and murders that have been going on in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

A group of rapists and date rapists in Angola prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

The time of day men are most likely to attack and rape a woman is in the early morning, between 5 and 8:30 a.m.

The number one place women are abducted from/attacked at is grocery store parking lots. Number two is office parking lots/garages. Number three is public restrooms.

The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.

Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk, I can't believe it is so cold out here, we're in for a bad winter. Now you've seen their face and could identify them in a line-up, you lose appeal as a target.

If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh - HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands -- the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it hurts.

After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he's out of there.

When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel a little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.


Here is an experience a local runner had recently which makes you stop and think:

To my friends, running buddies, and co-workers, As most of you know, I get up early to do my training runs to avoid traffic, dogs and the heat.  Recently a  white van with small pin striping on the sides that also has mini-blinds passed me as usual.  I see this van most every morning that I run.  I had just begun my run when this van passed me going south.  To clarify, we were both going south.

As I approached main street, which is about two miles from the place where this van first passed me, this van was coming back toward me going north, and had made the stop at the flashing red light.  Then the driver accelerated then decelerated when he saw me and almost stopped. At this point, I was about to make a right turn on main.  I noticed that the van was about to make a turn around. I then suspected that something was not right about this.  I immediately ran into the back driveway of the B&B nearby.  I hunkered down in the shadows of the driveway so that they could not see any of my reflective clothing.  Sure enough, the van turned down main.

After he passed the driveway, I hid behind a tree just in case he may come back and try out the driveway to see if I were there.  I heard the van turn around again and come back by the driveway and then he made a left hand turn to go north. I never saw the van again.

After I completed my run, I went to the police station to file a complaint.  I told the officer exactly what I have written to you.  I am sharing this with you so that those who are on the streets at the same time (between 4 and 5 a.m.),  you can keep a look out for this vehicle and at the same time, if anything happens to me, this will be the prime suspect. This person travels my route , every morning between early. I am also sharing this in case the police department fails to file the report. I am going to try to get a tag number

The officer that I spoke with knows that I will be running again on Tues., and Wed., mornings. I hope they will be out looking for me and/or this van.

I carry pepper mace with me regardless of the hour that I run. I expressed to the officer that sometimes the mace will fail and I have learned that it is not always effective. I asked about a stun gun. His opinion was that a gun would be my best bet. I asked about a permit to carry one. He said that it would take as many as 120 days to get an approval. He advised that I go ahead and carry a gun and that no officer would give me trouble carrying one at that hour and being alone. I will try to avoid using the gun. I will hide again if I can until the idiot goes away. I pray that I will not have to use it.

For those who like to sneak up on me, be warned....I will be carrying a 38 with me.



I learned from my children's karate classes that the elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do! If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives. 
Last night I attended a personal safety workshop, and it jolted me. It was given by an amazing man, Pat Malone, who has been a body guard for famous figures like Farrah Fawcett and Sylvester Stallone. He works for the FBI, and teaches police officers and Navy SEALS hand-to-hand combat. This man has seen it all, and knows a lot. He focused his teachings to us on HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME. He gave us some statistics about how much the occurrences of random violence have escalated over the recent years, and it's terrible.

Here are some of the most important points that I got out of his presentation:
1. The three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence are:

(a.) Lack of Awareness You MUST know where you are & what's going on around you.
(b.) Body Language Keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up.
(c.) Wrong Place, Wrong Time DON'T walk alone in an alley, or drive in a bad neighborhood at night.
(d.) Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.  DON'T DO THIS!  The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to  your head, and tell you where to go.


(a.) A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking
 garage: Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
(b.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims  by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
(c.) Look at the car parked on the drivers side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat  nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.  IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.

3. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are  horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot)

(a.) Do not get on an elevator if there is a weirdo already on there. (Of course bad men don't always look bad).
(b.) Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator - be near the front, by the doors, ready to get off or on.
(c.) If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the Boogie Man gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on.

4. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!

(a.) Police only make 4 of 10 shots when they are in range of 3-9 feet. This is due to stress.  
(b.) The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

5. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed.

 (a.) Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is how he abducted his next victim.
 (b.) Pat Malone told us the story of his daughter, who came out of the mall and was walking to her car when she noticed 2 older ladies in front of her.  Then she saw a police car come towards her with cops who said hello.  She also noticed that all 8 handicap spots in the area were empty. As she neared her car she saw a man a few rows over calling to her for help. He wanted her to close    his passenger side door. He was sitting in the driver's side, and said he was handicapped. He continued calling, until she turned and headed back to the mall, and then he began cursing at her. In the meantime, she wondered why he didn't ask the 2 older ladies, or the policeman for help, and why he was not parked in any of the empty handicap spots. As she got back to the mall, two male friends of hers were exiting, and as she told them the story, and turned to point at the car, the man was getting out of the back seat into the front, and the car sped away. DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THIS TRAP.

6. Tips to saving your life, if you have gotten into a violent situation:

(a.) REACT IMMEDIATELY If he abducts you in a parking lot, and is taking you to an abandoned area, DON'T LET HIM GET YOU TO THAT AREA. If you are driving, react immediately in the situation, and crash your car while still going 5 mph. If he's driving, find the right time, and stick your fingers in his eyes. He must watch the road, so choose an unsuspecting time, and gouge him. It is your ONLY defense. While he is in shock, GET OUT. (This sounds gross, but the alternative is your fault if you do not act.)
(b.) RESIST Don't go along with him: run, if you are able: DON'T EVER GIVE UP! You DO NOT want to get to a crime scene.

7. Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.

8. GET A CELL PHONE. There are packages for $19.95 a month that allow you to program only 911 into the dialing out program. (This is an alternative for parents who say it is too expensive for their kids to have a cell phone.)

9. BREAK DOWNS: Make every effort to avoid this by ALWAYS keeping your car in good working order.

(a.) If your car breaks down: LOCK YOUR DOORS. You better have a cell phone to call for help.
(b). If you don't have a cell phone: (shame on you) keep a blanket, warm clothes, a pair of boots, and a flashlight in your car  always, for emergencies.
(c.) If it's noon on a business day, you may want to put your hazards on and walk to safety.
(d.) If it's 2 a. m, put on your warm clothes, and walk to a lighted area. You are a perfect target if you are sitting in your car broken down. Predators search the highways for easy targets like you.
(e.) If you're on a desolate road: walk away from the car (in your warm clothes) and go to some bushes, or some area AWAY from your vehicles. It will be cold, and uncomfortable, but you DO NOT want to stay in your car, and there are no psycho bogeymen    waiting in the bushes who knew you were going to break down there and then.

10. Physical defenses that we can use against the violent predator:

( a.) The EYES are the most vulnerable part of the body. Poke him there.  HARD. It may be your, only window of opportunity.
(b.) The neck is also a vulnerable spot, but you MUST know where to grip, AND HAVE THE STRENGTH to cut off his breath.
(c.) The last place is the KNEES. Everyone's knees are very vulnerable,  and a swift kick here will take anyone down -- A cautionary note about these things. If you do not do these things right the first time, you are in trouble, because it will only anger the individual, and that anger will be TAKEN OUT ON YOU. I'm not saying don't attempt them (it may be your only hope), but be forceful when you do.

11. If you are walking alone in the dark (which you shouldn't be) and you find him following/chasing you:

(a.) Scream "FIRE," and not "help," People don't want to get involved when people yell "help," but "fire" draws attention because people are nosy.
(b.) RUN!
(c.) Find an obstacle, such as a parked car, and run around it, like Ring Around the Rose. This may sound silly, but over the years, 5 women have told Pat Malone that this SAVED THEIR LIVES.
(d.) Your last hope is getting under the car. Once you are under there, there are tons of things to hold on to, and he will not be able to get you out and will not come under for you (most likely). Usually they give up by this point. The catch here is that YOU MUST PRACTICE GETTING UNDER THE CAR.  You must have a plan (he will have one); know if you will be going on your back, front, from the side or back of the car. It must be practiced.

12. Never let yourself or anyone that you know be a "closer" in any type of business (bar, store, restaurant, gas station). Pat knew Danielle, who was a girl that just died from  being shot pointblank by some kids while she was closing at the local gas station. He talked with her the night before she died, and asked whether it ever scared her to close alone. She said yes, but said "I'll be all right, Pat. I'll be all right"  She wasn't. Our world is not as safe as we pretend that it is, and living in our fantasy worlds WILL get us in trouble, sooner or later. Pat Malone said again and again that the women who die EVERY MINUTE from violent crimes expected to go to bed tonight, and get up tomorrow. No one expects it, but we must be prepared and aware so that we HAVE A PLAN. BE PREPARED TO ACT! AND ACT HARD! HAVE A PLAN!

I would encourage you to pass this on to all women, not just your friends and family, but everybody. We all need to hear it.

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