Predators: Who They Are and How They Choose Their Victims. Are You Easy Prey? – By Debbie Love
Predators, who are they?
When people think of rapists or other sex offenders, they think of someone who looks like a criminal. Fact is, predators rarely look like predators. They are clean cut, polite, and well-dressed professionals. They might work in your office building or use your gym. They could be your neighbor, friend, work associate, member of your church or PTA. They blend into their surroundings and appear to belong. They use charm to lure their victims and often stand too close.
How they choose their victims?
They look for the woman who is distracted, who is on her phone, digging into her purse, wearing earbuds or walking slow. It is someone who is not aware of what’s going on around her.
Predators may seek out victims in “fringe areas,” where you may be close to people but out of range for immediate help, like parking lots, ATMs, gas stations, public restrooms, stairwells, rest stops and dressing rooms. A separate room in a crowded house is another fringe area as often happens to college students. A predator looks for an opportunity to be alone with someone–don’t give them opportunity!
Are you easy prey?
Many people believe the vast majority of sexual assault happens to women from, ya know, the other side of the tracks or to the gals hanging around biker bars. Nope, not true.
People also believe you are immune if you live in a wealthy area or gated community and drive an expensive automobile but only shop in good areas. Truth is, you could be targeted because you live in that neighborhood, drive that car or because you shop at that exclusive store. Predators may sit in wait in a parking lot outside that exclusive store for the owner of that fine car to come out and follow you back to your upscale home.
What can you do?
Walk with your HEAD UP! Your demeanor and the way you carry yourself is your first defense to avoid being targeted. It sends a strong message that you are not to be messed with. Walk with your head up and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Being distracted by your phone, searching through your purse, wearing earbuds or even walking slow shows you to be off guard, distracted and easily overpowered.
This is especially true in parking lots and garages. I tell women to walk with purpose, like you own the space; have your keys out with your purse crossed over your body. Carry your bags in your non-dominant hand, leaving your dominant hand available if needed. Do not avoid eye contact. If someone is standing near your car, return to the store.
What you want to project is that you are a woman not to be messed with. Predators are looking for someone they can control. They are not looking for a fight.
Predators look for opportunity. Don’t give them opportunity!
Debbie Love, Founder Heads Up Self-Defense for Women HeadsUpSelfDefense.com FB: @HEADSUPSelfDefense