Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to not be the perfect target.

I got stuck behind a teenage girl walking home from school while on a run with my kids in the double-jogger the other day. It's hard to just run around people on the sidewalk when you've got a stroller--especially a double--so I did everything I could think of (short of running her over) to get the girl's attention so I could pass. She never heard me. Her earphones were in with the music so loud that she was completely oblivious to everything around her.

As I was following her, I thought, 'If I were a rapist, she wouldn't stand a chance. She's the perfect target.'

Maybe she thought that because it was daytime, she was okay. Maybe she thought that being on a busy street would keep her from harm because of all the drivers who would see if something happened.

Ladies, I'm not one to advocate being paranoid every time you leave the house, but there are some things that, unfortunately, we all need to be aware of.

1. We can never act as if we're safe just because it's daytime.

A simple google search will show how many attacks have happened in broad daylight. Sunshine doesn't equal safety.

2. Drivers aren't watching us.

If you've ever tried to change lanes on a busy street and waited for what seemed like forever, you know what I mean. If drivers aren't even paying attention to what's going on in the lanes next to them, what makes you think they're watching you on the sidewalk?

3. Music puts us in danger.

That is, music in our ears that's so loud, we can't hear what's going on around us. There's nothing wrong with your favorite playlist on the way to wherever you're going, but don't have it so loud that you can't hear when someone's coming up behind you...in a double stroller...with two not-so-quiet toddlers in tow.

4. Mind your surroundings.

How well do you know your usual route home? Have you stopped to notice all the places right off the sidewalk secluded enough for someone to attack you? Again, don't get paranoid, but please be aware of what's around you.

5. Know how to keep yourself safe.

Walk with someone. Change your route. Have a weapon with you. Take a basic self-defense class. Walk quickly and with purpose. Talk to someone on the phone while walking. Don't dress in such a way that a man would have an easy time getting what he wants. It's not hard to keep yourself safe.

I'm sure the girl I got stuck behind made it home without a problem. I know that most girls walk alone all the time and have never had an issue. But I also know that it only takes once to ruin your life forever. The precautions to keep you safe are so simple. You may never have to use them, but at least you'll have them.

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