Self defense begins with making safe choices for yourself and those for whom you are responsible. Sometimes habit or emotion gets in the way, but staying aware and alert can go a long way toward keeping you safe.
My good friend recently arrived home to find her front door standing open a bit. She knew she had closed and locked the door when she left for work, but there it was…open. She is a smart person with life experience and has taken at least one self defense class, but habit and emotion kicked in, and with a fit of righteous indignance, she walked in and began searching the house.
Fortunately, the intruders had left, taking some of her belongings with them. What if they hadn’t? Was she prepared to defend herself against a startled and possibly armed person who was breaking the law, escalating a burglary into a robbery or even an assault or rape? By isolating herself inside the house, she potentially gave an intruder all the opportunity needed to commit further crimes against her, and took away her own escape route (get in the car and/or leave) and sources of assistance (neighbors).
Our homes are indeed our castles, and contain the majority of our possessions…but it’s still just “stuff,” and not worth losing your life. By entering her home instead of calling the police, my friend unthinkingly exposed herself to serious risk.
Of course she felt angry; her home had been violated. Of course she was incredulous; she had locked the door, but it was standing open. Of course she felt safe; it was her home, where she has lived for over a decade. It’s hard to process that a formerly safe place or situation can suddenly become anything but safe. Being open to new information (my door is open, so someone could be inside), listening to your gut feeling and intuition, and finally, acting on that information will do more toward keeping you safe than anything else you could do.
No matter how good your intentions, if you zone out at the wrong moment or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be the target of an assault or other crime. Be prepared mentally and physically to fight back, escape and call for help. You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim.
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