November 3, 2010

Protecting Yourself - Your Personal Safety Plan

"Protecting yourself" is not isolated to warding off violent attacks. The benefits of self-defence training include protecting your physical health, your mental health and your emotional well-being.
It is important to be aware of and exercise your right to safety. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world and your personal safety may be threatened. It’s a good idea to follow safety strategies so you are able to deal in a range of situations which we may find ourselves everyday as well as possible abusive, violence and bullying situations. It is also important that you acknowledge and respect that all people have the right to safety.
Everyone should have their own Personal Safety Plan. It consists of safety strategies you choose to suit your own lifestyle and abilities. The more you follow them and know that they work, the more they will become habits. It should not involve succumbing to a list of rules provided by another person.
The next 8 Core Concepts of Personal Safety which will help you develop your Personal Safety Plan .
1. Keep fear of violence in perspective
Many people have a fear of violent crime that is wildly disproportionate to its reality. This fear often results in unnecessary limitations being placed on your lifestyle. Education is the key to putting this fear into perspective. If you know the trends associated with personal violence offences, such as how often, when, where they occur and by whom, you can work out how likely it is that you would become a victim, and in what circumstances. If you follow practical safety strategies you can significantly minimise these risks.
This way, preventative strategies are based on the actual risk, rather than restricting your lifestyle based on an exaggerated fear.
2. Commitment
Being committed to your personal safety is fundamental to maintaining it. Many people have a strong commitment to keeping their loved ones safe, and are willing to do anything to protect them, but don’t have the same level of commitment to their own safety. Value yourself and keep yourself safe, by making safety strategies a part of your lifestyle.
3. Confidence
Confidence is a valuable tool in all you do. In the context of personal safety, having and displaying confidence plays a vital role. Offenders target people they see as vulnerable and the ones who would offer them the least resistance. So that vast majority of threats can be deterred if you appear to be confident and self-assured. A confident person is more likely to identify and implement preventative safety strategies; to have faith in their own abilities; and to take action if their personal safety is threatened. A person without confidence tends to be too scared to go out, diminishing their quality of life.
Having confidence is a source of power. And remember – if you don’t feel confident in any situation, fake it! Often visual imagery is a technique you can use to help you act sensibly under pressure. This means imagining yourself in a situation where you are using safety strategies successfully.
4. Body language
Body language is a powerful tool that you can use to your advantage. By appearing confident and comfortable in your surroundings, you decrease your attractiveness to potential offenders.
Strong, confident body language includes standing tall with your head up, shoulders back and walking with a purpose. Making brief eye contact with passers-by is also an effective method of demonstrating that you are not intimidated.
5. Awareness of surroundings
Being aware of what is happening around you will alert you to possible threats to your safety, before they reach you. This gives you the opportunity to remove yourself from the situation.
The key is to look relaxed and comfortable, rather than paranoid, thereby appearing “streetwise”. This decreases the likelihood of being targeted as a potential victim.
6. Trusting and acting on instincts
Your body senses danger long before your mind consciously works out why. It is vital you listen to, trust, and act on these instincts.
If you do sense danger or pick up “bad vibes” from someone, something or some place, leave immediately and go to a place where you feel safe.
7. Assertiveness
Assertive communication allows people to express their points of view objectively to reach an agreeable solution. It does not involve backing down (being passive) or standing over someone (being aggressive).
Assertive behaviour does not come naturally to most people. However, by practising assertiveness in handling minor matters, such as advising a shop assistant if you have been short-changed or sending back unsatisfactory food at a restaurant, you can enhance you ability to be assertive in other aspects of life.
In most day-to-day situations, you should be able to communicate assertively and confidently. But there may be occasions where acting either aggressively or passively will be the best way to keep safe.
8. Networks
Many people find it difficult to trust others with their feelings, experiences or concerns. Often those most in need of a trusted person to talk with, such as victims of domestic violence or people contemplating suicide, are the most isolated.
It is important to develop a network of people you trust and can contact for advice or assistance in an emergency, of if you feel your personal safety is threatened. They can include relatives, friends, community groups, neighbours and police. A supportive network also increases your confidence and self-esteem and can positively impact on all aspects of your life.

Example: Developing a 'Dealing with the Intimidator' Strategy
An intimidator controls you by making you fear him. He/she does this by using a variety methods like shouting, verbal abuse, accusing, and even threatening physical harm. If you look around and observe the relationships of your friends, relatives, co-workers, etc , you will see that some of them play the role of the intimidator. He/she can use control techniques because they play into your own fears and self doubts.

Your Basic Steps:
1. How to breathe
When you begin to feel scared, or even angry, try this easy breathing exercise:

  • Gently and slowly breathe in through the nose, to the count of three
  • Hold your breath to the count of six,then
  • breathe out through the mouth to the count of six
  • hold for three and keep repeating... in for 3, hold for 6, out for 6 & hold for 3.
When you maintain this constant cycle or rhythm of breathing, your awareness is being held on your breathing patterns instead on what the intimidator is doing.

2. Where to look

The intimidators are far less likely to pick on people who don't show them any fear, anger or judgment.

Even if you are feeling scared on the inside, your "Plain Eyes" will show your confidence in such difficult situation.
To show a bully your "Plain Eyes" it it important to keep looking at a special spot on the bad guy which changes depending on how far away they might be which is either on the:
  • Top lip of a bad guy when they are on the 'Neutral Zone'
  • Bridge of their nose when they are inside the 'Neutral Zone ' or
  • Skin of their lower eyelid if you are ever 'eyeball to eyeball' to a bad guy.

    3. What to say

    You need to gain an understanding of :
    1. His/her shouting and intimidations represent his/her own unhappiness. By recognizing this, you can understand that he/she 'owns the problem', and it has nothing to do with your actions.
    2.All of us need to overcome our different fears which have their basis in childhood (or in any other periods of our life) when a shouting and threatening parent (or other person) was a real threat for a number of many reasons. Even as full-grown adults, a shouting person may trigger off our subconscious reaction to a 'former similar' we experienced as young, overwhelmed children.
    Let him/her know clearly and strongly that you will no longer give in into his/her shouting and attempts to intimidate you. You can say: "I don't like the way you talk to me. Please stop". Allow him/her to calm down. When he/she calmed down, suggest that the two of you try again to discuss the subject. Let him/her know that you are willing to make compromises if he/she would just express his/her needs, honestly and clearly. Try to remember that he/she is living a life that may not be very satisfying and might welcome an opportunity to change.
    Depending on your's situation you can develop your own 'Dealing with the Intimidator' Strategy as a part of your Personal Safety Plan. We will appreciate if you'll share your thoughts with us.

    1. NSW The essential guide into adulthood.
    2. Be Safe in Your Space , Non-violent self-defence by Gary Simmons

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1 comment:

  1. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You must always stay alert and don’t let others catch you off-guard. Always be prepared to protect yourself at any cost.

    -Ezra Hamilton