Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day Attack Thwarted?

I just received this from a college-aged woman that I know who is asking for the schedule for women's self-defense classes locally:

"Last night I spent the night at a friends house and got home a little after 7 this morning, (sober! don't worry I don't drink) and while it was pretty light outside there was a guy that was following another person with a hoodie on (I couldn't tell if it was a girl or a guy) to their building and was bothering them. Then he saw I was walking that way so he started walking towards me. I called my boyfriend just so I had someone on the line with me in case anything happened. As he got closer to me he goes 'How much have you had to drink tonight sweetheart?' and I just ignored him and walked past him, telling my boyfriend that there was a weird guy right by me. Then he started following me to my building. He then said 'Hey I need you to come closer to me so I can sample your breath, I just need to sample your breath!' He was trying to impersonate a cop or something, but all he had was a phone in his hand and obviously no badge or anything. So I yelled, 'No! You're not a cop, you don't have a breathalizer, get away from me. And if you don't stop following me I WILL call the cops'. He slowed down and stopped and walked away after that, and I got into my building quickly. I'm glad it was sort of light out and he seemed too drunk to realize what was going on thankfully, but it just totally creeped me out and I realized that I wasn't that prepared to take him on if need be, especially in heels! So i just wanted to make sure I knew how to handle it if a guy were to physically come after me."

My initial thoughts:

1. I think she did a really good job in handling the situation. She recognized the threat early, she got on her cell phone with someone who could be a virtual "witness", and she indicated she was willing to resist by verbally responding in a forceful and non-ambiguous way;
2. College campuses are a hotbed for sexual assault and college-aged women are in the highest of risk groups for being attacked;
3. It's not uncommon for an attacker to try and coerce you through the power of authority whether they use their real position (like your boss or a school administrator) or try to impersonate one (like a police officer).

4. I would have liked if she would have gotten a good description of the suspect and called the cops. This guy could have successfully lured another woman into a trap later.
4. If you've been exposed to any of our Women's Empowerment Series of women's self-defense classes, we cite the research that shows that half of all attackers will break off their attack if you even indicate you are willing to resist. The problem then becomes what do you do with the other half?

Consider taking a women's self-defense course in 2009. It could be one of the best New Year's resolutions your make.

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