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Crime Prevention Tips for Women – But Not for Women Only! Visit www.WPSN.net.

Archive for January, 2010

Crime Prevention Tip – That “Uh Oh” Feeling

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During workshops and discussions on preventing victimization, I always emphasized the importance of listening to that “uh oh” feeling in your gut, mind, or anywhere else it presents itself to you.  This is the feeling you get when you walk out of store and you see that man over there casually leaning against that brick wall.  You say to yourself “Gee, should I ignore him or should I fear him.”  Often times, we may say to ourselves “Oh, don’t be a ninny – always being paranoid that someone is out to get you.”  And we proceed to our car.  This is an all to true scenario, and it did lead to an assault.  Even if 99% of the time it never leads to anything, do you want to be the 1%.  I don’t think so.

This “uh, oh” feeling is that feeling you get when you get to a stop light and see a group of men loitering on the corner.  What do I do now???  Or you don’t like that the ATM is on the side of the building away from anyone’s view.  Are you putting yourself in jeopardy – uh, oh!  The apartment you are looking to rent causes you to walk through outside walkways that are not visible to the street – Oh, my, could someone be lurking — how silly!  NOT!

Each of these are real, serious occurrences – not fiction.  And each is a disaster waiting to happen to an unfortunate person who may not have paid any attention to the signal that was very real and very present in the gut, chest, head. 

I don’t want you, the reader of this blog, to EVER put yourself in such a position as to jeoparidize your safety – no matter how silly you feel as you take steps to minimize the potential danger – like going to the manager of the store to walk you or watch you go to your car, or asking for an apartment with a front door visible from the street, or pass the poorly located ATM machine for one that is plainly visible in a busy area.

None of these precautions is silly or indicative of paranoia.  They are very simply SMART!

So you can imagine how I felt when a good and important friend said that he finally will pay attention to his gut.  I was thrilled to hear it.  It only took a mugging to change his mind –a very close call, actually.  He felt uncomfortable when he turned onto the street but ignored his body’s own message.  Luckily he was only minimally injured but that was because he was larger and stronger than his assailant and the mugger had no weapon.  Ironically, he had taken other precautions, such as putting a small amount of money in a pocket should anyone threaten him for money.  But now, he told me that he will definitely pay attention to his “Uh oh” feeling in the future–and I am so relieved he will.

And I hope you will too.  For more information on this “sixth sense,” please visit www.WPSN.net and read The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, an excellent book on how the gut feeling can save your life.

Written by Administrator

January 31st, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Victimization

Rape, Sexual Assault, & Domestic Violence Resources

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WPSN.net is a clearing house of information aimed at reducing the risk of being victimized.  But sometimes no matter how well you think you are prepared and judicious in securing your safety, bad things may happen.  Victims of rape & sexual assault as well as domestic & dating violence may find themselves bewildered as to how this horrible thing happen to them, what to do now, how to leave, whether to report, etc.  This list can be endless for a varity of reasons. 

Victims of these crimes are petrified, feel alienated from friends and family, may be scared to leave because they have no means of financial support, fear staying and leaving in equal measures, need to support children, don’t know where to go even if they do leave, hold tremendous guilt or responbility for the crime that victimized them, and, ultimately, feel hopeless.  As friends or family members of a victim, sometimes the best we can do is give the victim resources she or he may use to move foreward–and our actions must be immediate. 

For this reason, I feel it is very important to post this list of phone numbers and websites that you, as a friend, acquaintance, or family member, can provide.   There may be even more resources in your state, your county, or your city, that are available to victims of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence, such as crisis centers or safe houses.  This list is a good beginning.  Please visit www.WPSN.net for more information in reducing your risk of becoming victimized.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 TTY, or www.ndvh.org

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence [NCADV] - 303-839-1852, www.ncadv.org

National Sexual Violence Resource Center -717-909-0710, www.nsvrc.org

NCADV Public Policy Office; 1633 Q St NW # 210 · Washington, DC 20009; (202) 745-1211; Fax: (202) 745-0088, publicpolicy@ncadv.org

Face to Face, 800-842-4546, www.facetofacesurgery.org works with NCADV (see above) to help victims of domestic violence with facial injuries.

Written by Administrator

January 31st, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Preventing Victimization — Don’t Take Your Safety For Granted?

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As Mika Brzezinski, co-anchor of Morning Joe, on MSNBC, stood on a street in Washington, DC, she was attacked and mugged.   Ms. Brzezinski was standing outside the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. at 4:55 a.m.  She was waiting for the ride that would take her to the studio.  She is quoted as saying “I have been in far worse situations.” 

According to the article about this incident, which appeared in The Reliable Source in the Washington Post on December 19, 2008, co-anchor Joe Scarborough seemed more upset than Ms. Brzezinski.  Actually, the paper quoted him as saying “I am furious!” 

What is utterly amazing is that there is no mention in the article of the perilous situation in which Ms. Brzezinski placed herself.  There is no discussion of why she was out in the dark, “just five feet from the door!,” as Mr. Scarborough says.  Why, if she had been in more serious situations before, was she not more careful?

I’m not blaming the victim for being mugged, but I am blaming her for taking such an unnecessary risk with her life and wellbeing.  I’m blaming the hotel for not ensuring the safety for a guest who must stand outside their door to get her ride.  I’m blaming the mugger for everything else!

Women place themselves in these kinds of situation all the time; but, fortunately, all situations do not have a dangerous outcome.  But why take the risk?  Jogging alone with ear buds in their ears.  Walking alone late at night.  Accepting rides with people they barely know or may not know at all.  The examples could go on and on.

I do not advocate unjustified fear nor do I want to cause women to worry every time they go out.  But, come on, ladies, have a care.  I do expect women to take their safety more seriously and become more active in preserving it.  What happened to Ms. Brzezinski could have been considerably worse.

“It’s not going to happen to me or in my neighborhood”– famous last words, until it does happen!  Too many of us have experienced the loss of someone in their neighborhood, where such things NEVER happen! 

That is what we thought in a wonderful sleepy town in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  But a women was attacked, beaten beyond recognition, raped, and murdered — at 10:30 on a beautiful Sunday morning, while simply going about her day. 

The point?  It can happen anywhere to anyone at any time.  Be smart.

Freedom to go about your life and do the things you enjoy comes from taking the precautions to feel safe and be safe.  Nothing is a guarantee against victimization, but why not reduce your risk?  SO, PLEASE, THINK BEFORE PUTTING YOURSELF AT POTENTIAL RISK.  For more information on reducing risk of victimization, go to www.WPSN.net.

Written by Administrator

January 23rd, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Victimization

Self-Defense – Is it for You?

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Although www.WPSN.net advocates using preventive techniques so as not to find yourself in a dangerous situation, it is true that dangerous situations can happen.  Self defense can help someone feel more secure in her own ability to defend herself.  It is for this reason the following information is supplied.  However, each situation is different and there is no sure method of defense that will always work, nor is there a method that can guarantee that you will not be victimized.

Philosophical Outlook

A good self-defense program should reflect these philosophical points in its outlook.  Women do NOT ask for, cause, invite, or deserve to be assaulted.  Women and men sometimes exercise poor judgment about safe behavior, but that does NOT make them responsible for their attacks and for an attacker’s use of violence to overpower, control, and abuse them.  Whatever a woman’s decision in a given self-defense situation, whatever action she does or does not take, she is NOT at fault.  A women’s decision to survive the best way she can must be respected. 

Self-defense classes should not be used as judgment against a victim/survivor.  Good self-defense programs do not “tell” an individual what she”should” or “should not” do.  A program should offer options, techniques, and a way for analyzing situations.  A program may point out what usually works best in most situations, but each situation is unique and the final decision rests with the person actually confronted by violence.

Empowerment is the goal of a good self-defense program.  The individual’s right to make decisions about her participation must be respected.  Pressure should not be brought to bear in any way to get a woman to participate in an activity in which she is hesitant or unwilling.

Common Questions About Self-Defense

What is self-defense?

Self-defense is a set of awareness, assertiveness, verbal confrontation skills with safety strategies and physical techniques that enable someone to successfully escape, resist, and survive violent attacks.  A good self-defense course provides psychological awareness, verbal skills, and assault prevention skills, not just physical training.

Does self-defense work?

Self-defense training can increase your options and help you prepare responses to slow down, de-escalate, or interrupt an attack.  Like any tool, the more you know about it, the more informed you are to make a decision and to use it.

Is self-defense a guarantee?

There are NO guarantees when it comes to self protection.  However, self-defense training can increase your choices/options and your preparedness.

Is there a standard self-defense course?

There are many formats for training.  They may be as short as two hours or as long as 8 weeks or a semester.  Whatever the length of the program, it should be based on maximizing options, simple techniques, and respect for women’s experience.

Must I train for years to learn to defend myself? 

A basic course can help you develop skills and concepts.  Women often practice good self-defense strategies without knowing it.If I use physical self-defense, would I get hurt worse?  What does “hurt worse” mean?  Rape survivors speak eloquently about emotional pain long after physical pain heals.  The point of using self-defense is to de-escalate a situation and get away as soon as possible.  Knowing self-defense increases your options.

How can I tell a “good” course from a “bad” one?

A good course covers critical thinking about assault prevention techniques, self-defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember techniques.  The instructor respects and responds to your fears and concerns.  Instruction is based on the belief that women can act competently, decisively, and take action for their own protection.  Essentially, a good course is based on intelligence and not muscle.  It offers tools to enable a woman to connect with her own strength and power.

Written by Administrator

January 23rd, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Self Defense

About WPSN.net

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What is WPSN?

The Women’s Personal Safety Network, www.WPSN.net, is a website created to provide a venue for women seeking information on how to prevent crime and reduce victimization of themselves, their children, their friends, their co-workers, and everyone else who intersects their lives.  This site will evolve to include crime prevention tips on topics including those indicated by the pictures on this page, current events that impact women’s lives, phone numbers that could improve or even save your life.

Why do we need a site like WPSN?

Women continue to be victimized.  Whether walking down the street in their neighborhood, driving their cars, visiting the local shopping center, or going to the laundry room, women continue to place themselves in precarious situations simply because their do not have the knowledge that can aid them in making wise decisions.  Too often women simply do not know what to do when potentially dangerous situations arise or what number to call for help or information.  It is intended that this website will provide this information – all in one place.

Written by Administrator

January 23rd, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Posted in General

Introducing WPSN.net Blog!

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Welcome to www.WPSN.net Blog.  This blog will provide information dealing with the issue of women’s personal safety.  Please be patient as this blog is currently under construction.  For information on the subject of crime prevention tips for women, although not just for women only, visit http://www.wpsn.net/ and share the site with everyone you know.

Written by Administrator

January 23rd, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Posted in General