Personal Safety: 7 Ways to Diminish Your Chance of Being a Victim
by Michelle Cerino
Over the years I've attended several courses and read many books and articles about personal safety. Offered here are 7 key aspects to increase your safety, no matter where you are.
Every personal safety list seems to begin here, so mine will too. An aware person knows something exists, whether it's a situation, a condition or a problem. Someone who is aware understands what's going on in the environment around her. She feels, experiences and notices sounds, sensations and emotions. As an aware person, you will be alert to whoever and whatever is around you. This will shorten your reaction time should something happen. Don't be surprised — instead, be aware.
Looking like you know exactly where you are going and what you are doing can keep you from being a target. Walk with an authoritative posture; keep your head high. Acknowledge strangers as you walk past them. Look them in the eyes and give a nod of the head or a smile. If a possible attacker knows you can identify him, perhaps he will pass you by. If someone asks for the time or directions, be courteous, but keep your distance and keep moving.
The body won't go where the mind hasn't been. That's why it's important to visualize what will you do when you are attacked. Focus on "if, then" thinking instead of "when, then" thinking. Visualize the attack and play it out in your mind with an ending where you win. Having a plan will help you avoid freezing when something happens. Expect the unexpected and you won't get caught off guard.
Draw a line in the sand. Distance is your friend, so have a predetermined distance you will allow someone to come toward you. This may be different depending on your location, who you're with, and the time of day. If someone reaches that distance and you do not feel comfortable, cross the street or change directions. Use your voice and tell them, "Stay back." Always maintain a safe distance.
Whether it's gut instinct, women's intuition, or a sixth sense, many of us have had that "feeling" we call instinct. When the hair on the back of your neck stands up, it's your mind picking up on something unnatural. Unfortunately, with society demanding "political correctness," some women won't act on their instinct to avoid a situation. When you feel something just isn't right, make a change. If an elevator door opens and your gut tells you not to get in, don't. If you're already on an elevator, and someone gets on who raises a flag, press the button for the next floor and get off. Worrying about overreacting may cause you to hesitate or maybe even ignore your intuition. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Be aware of the way out. If you are in a store, doctor's office or any public building, make note of emergency exits when you enter. When outdoors, if your instinct tells you something is wrong, run straight to a group of people, or head into a building where you can see people. Yell along the way to draw other people's attention.
Should you become a target, never give up. Even if you're injured, keep fighting. When law enforcement practices training scenarios, the good guy never dies. This helps build the mindset to continue fighting, no matter what it takes. You will win and get home to your family.
I believe having the proper mindset is what will help me win the day. As mentioned above, I have read many books that helped me get to where I am today. Here is a list of those books.
On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
On Combat by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
Warrior Mindset by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley
The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why by Amanda Ripley
There is always the possibility you could become a victim. If you expect it to happen, you will be better prepared to avoid it and respond without hesitation. Do your research, put personal safety in your hands, have the right state of mind and stay safe.
Michelle Cerino is the managing editor at WomensOutdoorNews.com. She also is the author of the column "She Shoots 2," sponsored by Crossbreed Holsters. A mother of 2 teenage boys, Michelle has been right there beside them hunting youth deer seasons, plinking pop cans with .22s and being involved in Boy Scouts since 2004. Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group, LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers. When not working, Michelle competes in prestigious shooting events, such as the Bianchi Cup in Missouri, and major 3-Gun matches nationwide.