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Prevention Education

Our program educates families on the measures they can take to reduce their risk of abduction and empowers individuals to take control of their own safety. Our approach has three goals: become a high risk target, avoid high risk settings, and identify high risk behaviours and tactics. We train individuals to become more dangerous to abusers, and give them the tools to recognize and avoid danger.

How to be a High Risk Target

 

Being a high risk target is about doing everything we can to be perceived as invulnerable to attack by predators, thus lowering our chances of being targeted. Our goal is for people to look at us and think "that girl will put up a major fight, I don't want to mess with her."

streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

01

Situational Awareness

The first step to being a High Risk Target is situational awareness. Awareness equals response time. When you're aware of your surroundings you have more time to react to threats. Because you will have a greater opportunity to escape, awareness also acts as a deterrent to attackers. Here's how to improve your awareness:

1. Remove Distractions. Did you know that our senses have developed over thousands of years for the single purpose of survival? We need to let them do their job! Put away phones and earbuds when walking in public.

2. Scan Your Environment. Look up and around- not at the ground.

3. Stay Sober. Drinking and drugs impair awareness, judgement, and your ability to physically defend yourself. Try to stay sober in more dangerous settings. If you do drink, be aware that your awareness and defenses are compromised, and take extra precautions like sticking with a friend, parking in a well-lit area, and having a plan to get home.

4. Clear Mind. Emotions and distracting thoughts can impair your awareness similar to alcohol, and make you a more vulnerable target to predators. Try to clear your mind when in transit, and if you are in an emotional state, refrain from taking a walk alone.

Learn more about awareness >

 

02

Virtual Awareness

These days our world greatly extends into the virtual realm, so it's important to maintain our awareness and safety online. Predators often use social media and messaging apps to find information on potential targets and/or gain their trust. Here are the best things we can do to stay safe online:

1. Never Share Personal Information Online. This includes address, school, phone numbers, etc. These things must never be shared with someone you don't know in real life. 

2. Minors Must Have Private Profiles. This is the easiest way to stop strangers from seeing what a minor shares online. Never accept friend requests or messages from anyone you don't know in real life. Safety must come before likes, comments, follows, or being polite.

3. Always Tell a Parent if Someone Makes You Uncomfortable. Minors should tell the parents anytime they are uncomfortable online, whether its from bullying, inappropriate images or videos, or messages/requests.

attack prevention education for women
 
streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

03

Confident Presentation

The third part of being a high risk target is presenting a confident self. Walking confidently tells abusers that you are likely to put up a fight and stand up for yourself. Whereas insecure and timid body language implies that you will not. Here is how you can present a powerful, confident self:

1. Stand tall with your shoulders back and head up.

2. Let your arms swing naturally at your side. Don't cover your torso, keep your hands in pockets, or fidget your fingers.

3. Walk with purpose. This means not dilly-dallying or dragging your feet. Move like you own the world and that you have a place to be. Take up space rather than trying to be small.

4. Make eye contact. This shows people that you are not afraid of confrontation, and that you've seen them (awareness!)

Learn more about confidence >

 

How to avoid High Risk Settings

 

We need to be aware of the risks and dangers associated with the places we go. When you get in the habit of identifying High Risk Settings, you can either avoid them or take further safety precautions.

01

Identify High Risk Settings

The first step to avoiding danger is being able to recognize dangerous settings. Use the Risk Level (RL) Score, which gives each setting a score from 1-10. One is no risk, and ten is extremely risky. Here are some features that impact the RL score:

1. Crowd. The more people around, the greater the risk for the attacker and the lower the risk for you. Having people around is the number one deterrent to abductors.

 

Beat It: Always take the route with the most people and stick with a friend. 

2. Visibility. When it's dark it's more difficult for yourself and others to see potential threats coming. 

Beat It: Park in well-lit areas, avoid being alone after dark.

3. Remoteness. The farther away a location is from help, the riskier it becomes.

Beat It: Make sure your parents or friends know where you are, bring a friend, and keep your phone charged.

4. Cell Service. Without it, no one has the ability to call 911.

Beat It: Avoid areas without service unless you're with your family.

5. Geographic Location. Some streets, cities, and countries are more dangerous than others. This should inform our safety decisions.

Beat It: Do your research on your neighbourhood or travel destination. Be prepared for local risks and take appropriate security measures.

6. Internal Location. Each setting provides unique risks. A concert presents different physical risks than a bar, a movie theatre, and a protest. 

Beat It: Know the risks of your setting. Always note where the exits are, never put yourself in the middle of a large crowd, remain sober in dangerous settings, and stick with a friend.

7. Behaviour. What are people doing at the location? Drugs and alcohol can increase aggression and impulsiveness on the part of motivated offenders, and impair the awareness and defenses of both targets and bystanders.

Beat It: If you're going somewhere where there is a lot of drugs and alcohol, always keep your wits about you and stick with a friend.

How to apply this? 

Try to practice applying your own RL score on your daily routine so that your brain gets in the habit of assessing these variables. Eventually, it becomes habit!

attack prevention education for women and girls
 
streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

02

Travel Safety

Different destinations present unique dangers. Always research the local risks before travel so you can be prepared. They can range from animal, biological, to human threats. Here are some important tips to follow when travelling:

1. Blend In. It is best not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself in foreign places. Try to adapt to the local attire and behaviour.

2. Conceal Luxuries. Keep your jewelry, devices, watches, and other luxuries hidden. Criminals are very well trained in identifying foreigners who are assumed to have money and to be an easy or naive target.

3. Do Your Research. You can find crucial safety tips on government websites. Always research the area you will be staying and commuting. 

Learn more about solo travel safety tips >

How to identify dangerous behaviours and tactics

 

Abusers come in all forms, and more often than not they are someone the victim already knows. This is why 'stranger danger' is insufficient. Since abusers are often skilled at disguise and manipulation, it is impossible to tell who they are by looking at them. What we can do is identify the inappropriate behaviours and tactical methods abusers use. That way we will be able to act even if the threat is from someone we know.  We always teach our students, 'Judge by behaviour, not relationship'.

01

Identify Abusive Behaviours

Here are some red flag behaviours that women and children need to be aware of:

For Kids:

1. An adult who asks a child to keep a secret.

2. An adult who tries to get a child to go somewhere with them.

3. Inappropriate words, requests, or touching.

4. Adults who try to message a child online, or show interest in their online profiles. Safe adults are not interested in following and commenting on minors content, and do not message minors online (except close friends and family).

For Women:

1. Someone who pressures you to drink or do drugs.

2. Pressuring you to do anything you're uncomfortable with.

3. Someone who tries to isolate you when you are not sober, or insists on a date in a remote location.

4. Know the signs of grooming and human trafficking.

attack prevention education for women and girls
 
streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

02

Identify Abductor Tactics

Abusers often use the same tactics to lure and attack victims. Know the facts about abduction:

1. Most abductions involve an offender using a vehicle. 

2. Most abductions of children occur when the child is walking to or from school.

3. Girls age 10-14 are the highest risk demographic for abduction.

4. Abductors often use the same verbal ploys to lure victims. Here are the most common lures: 

The Offer Trick: The victim is offered something desirable like candy, money, animals, toys, or a ride.

The Help Trick: The victim is asked to help with something such as directions, looking for a lost pet, or carrying something.

The Friend Trick: A person tells the child he or she has been sent by the child’s parent. Sometimes the person actually does know the parent.

The Emergency Trick: Someone fakes an emergency and offers to take the child to another location.

The Bad Kid Trick: Someone accuses the child of doing something wrong and says the child must go with him or her.

The Model Trick: Someone compliments the child and asks to take his or her picture. The person may promise the child fame or fortune.

The Open The Door Trick: Someone tries to get the child to answer the door when the parents aren’t home.

Learn more about abduction facts >

03

Unbreakable Safety Rules

Now that we know some common behaviours and tactics used by abductors, let's learn what we can do to stay safe from them.

1. Never approach someone's car or accept rides from untrusted adults. This is equally important for women and children.

2. Always stick with a friend or group when possible.

3. Your every day routes are where you're most at risk- always maintain your awareness and walk confidently (High Risk Target strategies).

4. Never put being polite over being safe. Safe adults don't ask kids for help or try to get them to go close to their car or house. Make sure your children know how to firmly say 'no' and keep walking when approached by adults on the street, no matter how nice or harmless they may seem.

5. Judge people by their behaviour- not their relationship to you. It is very important that both children and women understand that abusers are far more likely to be someone you already know than a stranger. Learn how to identify predatory behaviours and tactics so you can spot them with clarity no matter who they come from.

attack prevention education
 

How to respond to an attack

streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

01

Delay The Attack

Every second longer the attack takes raises the likelihood that the abductor will get caught. As abductors become more afraid that they will get caught, they become more likely to give up and run away. Here are a few things we can do to delay an attack:

1. Run (#1 defense).

2. Use a strong base to resist a pull or push. What ever direction they are push/pulling you, strongly lean all your body weight in the opposite direction with a wide and balanced base.

3. Put a large object like a car between you, so they are forced to try to get around it to get to you.

4. Cling on to a pole as hard as you can.

 

02

Draw Attention

Throughout the entire attack, yell as loud as you can, as much as you can. Please note the difference between yelling and screaming. Screaming is a high pitched sound that conveys no information. Instead, YELL things that communicate to others what is happening. Yelling is very frightening to an attacker and degrades confidence in their ability to get away with the attack. Some things you can yell are ‘HELP’, ‘GET AWAY FROM ME’, ‘SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE’.

*In a ten year study from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, they found that the greatest factor in evading an abduction was yelling and making noise.

attack prevention education
streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

03

Fight Back

Fight back, with all you have, non stop, from start to finish. Ideally you will have some self defense training to rely on, with go-to techniques that you remember. But even if you don’t (or you forget), make sure that you still fight back as best you can. Punch, kick, peel fingers off of you, scratch the face, poke the eyes, do anything you can to show the attacker that they were wrong in their assessment of how easy the attack would be, how long it would take, and make them believe that they will get caught if they don’t give up and run away immediately.

*In the ten year study by NCMEC, they found that 83% of children who escaped their would-be abductors did something proactive. They walked/ran away, yelled, kicked, or pulled away. This means the best thing a child can do if someone tries to abduct them is take action instead of being passive or polite. 
 

What else can I do?

 

Prevention through risk reduction strategies are a major component of personal safety. These are often referred to 'soft skills', and if you master them, the odds that you will have to use 'hard skills' decreases. However, we believe that every person should also have the physical skills to defend themselves when needed. It may sound daunting, but self defense skills are far more achievable than you may think- and we believe in you! These are our recommendations to get started:

1. Take a Girls Who Fight virtual or live self defense course to learn defenses to the most common attacks.

2. Join a martial art that has a competition and live combat/sparring element. We recommend Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, or MMA.

3. Learn about weapons defense and weapon handling. If you use a firearm for self defense purposes, make sure you get regular practice and know how to use it safely.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. We never know when we may have to fight for our lives, so it's important to prioritize your fitness and wellness in a way that gives you energy, alertness, mental clarity, and endurance. The most important things are eating a clean, real foods diet, getting enough sleep, and routine cardiovascular and strength building exercise. 

Further Reading

streey safety and self defense education for women and girls

Great resources

 

The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children

https://www.missingkids.org/education/kidsmartz

Child Rescue Coalition

https://childrescuecoalition.org/education/

Our Rescue

https://ourrescue.org/