Assaults against women in urban settings: what can be done to prevent this phenomenon and what kind of defense can be implemented?

Unfortunately aggressions are frequent. They occur most frequently in the evening and at night. Aggressions typically occur against women in urban environments and often along the path from where you park your car until you reach the front door of your home.

 


Types of aggression:
First, we must distinguish between the possible types of attacks. Knowing how to assess danger can be helpful. For example, even the will prepared robber, does not seek physical confrontation. He may use terrible phrases in order to threaten you; however, his purpose is simply to steal your property. If you want to protect your goods, remember to not keep all your money in your wallet, but use hidden pockets or a belt wallet etc. If possible, try not to make a display of jewelry in risky places.  Far more dangerous is the attack of a drunken or drugged individual, because he is without any inhibitions. Your advantage is that this kind of person is in a run-down physical condition and therefore is subject to your eventual reaction. Among all possible attackers, the more dangerous is definitely the maniac. He suffers from a mental impairment but is in good physical condition. He has no remorse for his actions and often feels very gratified by the reactions of his frightened victims.

 


Some simple rules of conduct for prevention:
Let’s analyze some simple rules of conduct in relation to the environment in which you find yourself. Absolutely never to make withdrawals from ATMs in the evening or at night.  If you can’t avoid it, you must look carefully at your surroundings while you move away from the ATM. If you feel someone is following you, do not hesitate to enter a store or a bar. Sooner or later your tracker will tire of waiting and go away. Do not hesitate to call the Police. If you’re coming home at night and you’re alone, do not park your car in the basement of public parking lots or of a condominium, because there may be some attackers who wait in the shadows. If you go into the house by a condominium-door, better to climb down the stairs rather than using the elevator. It is best never to find himself alone at night in a confined space such as an elevator cab. During the day, while walking in the city or while you’re at the supermarket, you feel someone is following you, stop suddenly and turn around in front of a window or in front of any object that can reflect what is behind you. If someone stops too, then react accordingly.

 


What to do in case of aggression:
What to do if, despite all these precautions, you happen to find yourself in front of someone who demands your money and jewels? The first defense is to satisfy him, as already written. But what if you don’t want to do it, or if the individual does not want your money … but wants you? Well you scream, scream as hard as you can, but not disconnected phrases: shout “Help, police!” and shout continuously. Many psychologists recommend to scream “Fire, fire!” This may seem strange, but often people who hear screaming that a fire broke out run toward the scream to see what has happened. However, shouting will get two effects: your assailant will understand that he’ll be in danger too, and you, coming out with the screams, will probably be able to overcome the paralysis of fear that often blocks any movement of the person attacked. The situation mentioned really happens a lot of times, and the victims after a healthy shout release, were launched against the aggressor kicking just where every man is terrified of being hit. My personal advice is if the attacker has a weapon, give him your wallet immediately, because the likelihood is, in order to silence you, that he’ll hit you. If you have good legs, and if the environment around you does not present particular obstacles, run as fast as you can and simultaneously shout continuously! If you suffer an attack while you are with friends, stay in a group and shout all together. It does not matter if you are in open or closed spaces, you will see that effect!

 


The defense spray:
You have probably already thought to keep in a pocket or purse, one defensive spray that you can find commercially. That’s fine, but remember that:

  • Not all sprays on the market are of legal use, so please contact serious shopkeepers.;
  • It is absolutely useless to keep the spray in your purse when you’re alone and in hazardous environments. Do not hesitate and hold it in your hand;
  • Try it a few times. It is critical that you understand what trajectory you must calculate and how far you have to be from your aggressor to reach his eyes.

Typically the spray can be used from a variable distance from 60 cm to 2.5 meters from the aggressor. NEVER use it in a closed environment where you are too, and be aware if the wind is blowing from your attacker towards you. There are sprays that spray stinging jelly, and that do not create hazards if you spray in enclosed areas or upwind. After you have sprayed, get away quickly, holding your breath for a few seconds. Absolutely never buy cans that oblige you to look where the spray tip is in order to aim. The can must have a tactile reference, fixed and very evident. My advice, if you want to buy one of these cans, is to attend a course on its use. Finally, remember if you buy a banned product, you run the risk of being indicted for possession  of toxic gases in a public place.

 


Keep your cell phone pre-set to the Police number:
Remember that your cell phone will save you in high-risk situations as long as you keep pre-set to the Police telephone number. As long as you’re very quick to make it clear to your attacker that while he’s attacking you you’re on the line with the Police!

 


The self-defense classes:
If you really want to give a good lesson to your hypothetical aggressor, or if you simply want to feel more protected, then sign up for a self-defense course.
This is not the traditional martial arts. They have a very long learning time and they teach how to move in a sporting context of competition, which has nothing to do with the urban self-defense. As this statement may generate many disagreements, note that the specific writer of this article has been practicing karate (black belt), and also other various martial arts for over forty years. He is also an instructor of Krav Maga self-defense, method of Israeli origin (i.e. created by people that have always had to deal with situations of absolutely extreme urban danger, preparing to face at any time and in any place assaults with bare hands or armed robbery, riots against them even at random and without notice). If you intend to enroll in a course of self-defense, found out the seriousness of the instructors and the association membership. It is not difficult; for example, you can contact structures that are required to hold lectures in courses approved by the Regional institute for Security officers, and of course check that the instructors are individually enrolled in a register recognized by the State. You have several strategies to cope with possible dangerous situations that you may encounter in the urban context. Please remember that the best defense is prevention. Starting from the analysis of the environmental context. If an environment seems dangerous, avoid it especially at certain times. If you really cannot avoid it, get someone to go with you!

 


Alberto Arietti
President of KMT