I am traumatized by the daily reports in the newspapers on the Delhi gang rape case. What is most disturbing about this case for me is the visuals. A young girl being brutally raped, sodomized and beaten black and blue by 5 ruffians while the luxury bus is being driven throughout the city. A bus that ferries people to and fro from their homes to their workplaces was used as a safe den for defiling and torturing a young woman. While the world caved in for the young girl inside the bus, there were thousands of people right outside the bus completely unaware of the heinous crime being perpetrated inside.
What must have gone inside the girl’s mind? “If only I could run out of the bus out of the door then I will be safe” “Let me scream for help then maybe someone outside the windows might hear me“. But in the end as it turned out, her struggles were in vain in the face of the combined brutish power of the 5 rapists.
The overriding thought though that must be ringing through the girl’s head even now as she battles for her life would be: I WISH I HADNT BOARDED THAT BUS!
Regret. It’s a loaded word. Regret especially after a terrible incident has occurred can be overwhelming and can cause untold grief and misery to the individual who is in pain. In this case, the girl’s intestine had to be removed by the doctors to prevent the spread of infection and it seems unless there is a successful intestinal transplant which is rare, she is destined to live the rest of her life malnourished, debilitated and under constant care and supervision.
This gnawing regret that ‘Had I been more alert and not boarded the bus, I would be perfectly fine right now in the pink of health able to go on with my life and my ambitions’ is an internal dialogue that the young girl has to live with for the rest of her life. Which brings me to something that I always mention ‘From Heaven to Hell’.
Heaven To Hell
Heaven and Hell are right here on this earth.
When all is well we are in heaven. If you are hale and hearty and healthy then you must remember that you are lucky. Enjoy this present moment. It is indeed a miracle to be alive when one realises that we live in a world full of dangers, threats and conflicts in which our corporeal self aka our physical bodies can evaporate and vanish in the blink of an eye. We are at the mercy of a world which can turn from a nurturing mother to a marauding vamp within seconds. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, storms can kill and bury us. Accidents involving trains, elevators, planes, cars and trucks can squash us. Power sources can electrocute us. Wild animals can eat us. Terrorists, murderers, rapists can mutilate us beyond recognition. Not to mention germs and viruses that are swimming around by the tens of trillions in the earth’s atmosphere and waters that can infiltrate your body anytime and turn you into a ‘living corpse’.
So take a deep breath and say, “I am happy to be healthily alive!”
Stay Alert Stay Alive
Coming back to personal safety, one of my favourite books on this topic is ‘Stay Alert Stay Alive – Criminal Reveal their Secrets’ by Michael P.S. Williams. The content of the book as the name suggests shows you how to keep yourself safe and secure by making you aware of you how criminals target their victims and thus making you aware of your own weak spots. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Detroit, the author realized that after 18 years of law enforcement, that only his law enforcement friends taught their families how to protect themselves the right way. His other “civilian” friends would say they didn’t want to scare the kids.
Only after a break-in did one of them come to him for advice. Soon after he started studying crime reports and crime statistics. He narrowed his focus to studying victims and then criminals and started interviewing victims and asking them what they did during the time of the actual crime. Then he would interview the perpetrators and ask them questions like: why did you pick a particular victim? how did you plan your crime? and where did you learn to commit a particular crime?, and other such details of the criminal mind.
The results is a book which is the most realistic and comprehensive training available to date for the common man and woman, written from the dual point of view of both victim and criminal. A highly recommended book to read and digest for everyone. You can buy the book here from Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Stay-Alert-Alive-Criminals-Secrets/dp/1598001868.
I will set out to recollect some rules from Michael’s Book on my blog with kind permission from the publishers from time to time – lessons that will serve to remind you on how to increase your confidence and personal safety in a world of ever increasing crime.
Personal Safety Rule #1: Do Not Look Like a Victim
Remember this very important rule! Whenever you are on the street, at the mall, at the bus stop, at the railway station or in any public forum, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Now, you’re still asking yourself, “Okay, how do I not look like a victim?” The answer is easy — look confident. Hold your head up, stick your chest out, and pull that nasty looking gut in! When you walk, walk like you’re going somewhere, even if you’ve been there before.
Walk with a purpose
Criminals tell us that they choose their victims like a lion chooses which member of the gazelle herd is Sunday dinner!
Both of these attacking animals pick the weakest, the slowest, and the most vulnerable — the one that looks like it will put up the least resistance.
Look in a ¾-length or full-length mirror. What do you see?
Try this little experiment: Stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes. Get a picture in your mind of Woody Allen in the movie “Annie Hall,” or any other Woody Allen movie for that matter. If you are a movie buff you know that the legendary writer / comic / film director / actor Woody Allen always acts like a nerdish, bookish, impish, bumbling, stuttering and confused character. If you havent seen a Woddy Allen go rent a DVD and watch one of his famous films like Manhattan, Midnight in Paris or Annie Hall.
Now without opening your eyes, pretend to be Woody Allen. Stand like he stands. Hold your head, shoulders, and arms like he does. Now open your eyes and take a look. What do you see? V-I-C-T-I-M. Now close your eyes again. This time you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “Terminator,” (or any other Arnold movie for that matter—well maybe except “Twins”!).
Stand like Arnold, now walk like Arnold. Now, with your best Arnold impersonation, say “I’ll be back.” Open your
eyes. How did that feel? My guess is that your felt powerful, unstoppable, but most of all, in control. I would also guess that when you did your Woody Allen impression, you felt small, weak, and lacked confidence. Would-be criminals can “smell” fear.
They can’t explain it, but they know it when they see it. What do you see when you look at yourself? Be honest. If you don’t look confident, start practicing. Do it now! In addition to looking confident on the outside, you have got to develop some tools on the inside.
Let’s talk about using your sixth sense.
You know that lit-tle voice in your head that says things like, “Don’t do that, don’t go that way, don’t say that.” We all have that sixth sense, but most of us ignore it. It’s a subtle, but powerful voice. I am sure the Delhi Rape Victim heard that voice when she saw a leering man inviting her to get into the bus that would take her to her destination. She would have instantly observed that the windows were empty and that the bus must have been empty. Immediately she would have received subtle messages and signals of self-survival from her mind and body –
“This is Delhi where women are unsafe. This is night time. Do not board this empty bus. Wait for a bus with more people inside” or
“This man inviting me in looks like trouble. Stay a mile away from him.”
But as history will prove, too many victims of attack have failed to listen to their sixth sense and lived to regret.
You can practice listening to your sixth sense by catching yourself in the act of leaping before you look. For example, when you park your car at the mall parking lot or at the movies at night your sixth sense will tell you where to park the car. Listen to it. When you meet some-one on the street or in the mall or theatre, pay attention to what you feel about that person and not what you think about the person. If that person makes you feel uneasy, move away from that person.
Listen to your sixth sense
On a less esoteric note, ask yourself how well you know your own neighborhood. Answer the following questions:
Where is the nearest police station?
Where is the nearest fire station?
Where is the nearest public telephone?
Where is the nearest hospital?
Where is the nearest 24-hour drug store?
Let’s talk about walking, whether in your own neighbor-hood or unfamiliar streets. First of all, you should avoid, if possible, unfamiliar streets. But if you find yourself on foot, stick to well lit, well-traveled streets. No shortcuts, no matter how tempting, through parking lots or wooded areas. Put that expensive Rolex in your pocket. Ditto ladies, for that diamond ring. Don’t keep all your cash in your wallet or purse. Instead, keep 5 – 10 hundred rupees notes in your pocket. If someone tries to rob you, throw the one dollar bills in the air and run!
The Criminal’s Perspective
Always carry Pepper Spray
Criminals tell us that all they really want is your cash. If they see you are wearing a nice watch or ring, they’ll be too busy picking up all that money so they can purchase drugs. If you feel that someone is following you, change directions, cross the street, or both. Walk quickly to a well-lit area, store or restaurant. If your sixth sense tells you to be afraid, yell for help. Again, ladies, if you have to work late, ask a colleague or the night security guard to walk you to your car. Keep your keys in one hand and your Pepper Spray in the other. If you carry a purse, keep it close to your body, not dangling from the straps.
Men, put your wallet in your front pants pocket, not your jacket pocket, and definitely not your back pocket. Why? Pickpockets are trained to “lift” wallets from the back pocket. While we’re talking about pickpockets, let’s examine their MO (modus operandi). Pickpockets are everywhere and usually work in teams. The first individual’s job is to distract the “mark” (that’s you). For example, on a crowded street, someone stops you and says, “Excuse me, what time is it?” When you look at your watch, the second one casually bumps into you and steals the wallet that you have so cooperatively left in your back pocket.
I leave you with this thought: know the con even if you don’t know the con men. Know that you could get mugged, raped, molested, beaten up, shot, knifed, run over, knocked down every time you leave your house. So be alert. It could save your life.
Amit Sen, a commercial pilot by training, has over 15 years experience in the space of corporate investigations, handling Copyright & Trademark infringement cases, Pre – employment verification Industrial Espionage investigations, Asset & Net – Worth assessment assignments and vendor / supplier verification cases, among others. Co-founder of Alliance One Detectives – which is the best home security consultants in Mumbai. Apart from specializing in home security, Amit has also successfully completed assignments in a wide range of sectors, including the machine tools industry, pharmaceutical industry, hospitality sector, specialized equipment (Oil & natural gas sector, aviation industry etc.), telecom industry & the IT & ITes sectors. These cases have all involved both offline and online investigations.