By KENDRA BURDICK and NALEIAH MILLER
When you’re walking down a street and you feel like someone is following you, you turn to the left and right and see no one. People like to believe that their perception of being followed is just a mental construct. Humans have an instinct when they are being “hunted” just like animals do. Knowing how to handle the circumstance could potentially save your life or someone else’s life.
How Men are Attacking Women:
The reasons behind these attacks are complex and varied. In some cases, it is rooted in a culture of misogyny and patriarchy, where women are seen as prey to men. In other cases, it may be driven by the want of sexual gratification which is mainly found in testosterone according to the physiological site “Psychology Today.”
One of these incidents involves Erin Mims, a woman, who was trying to get into her car when she found a tissue in the door of the car. When asked about the incident Mims replies “I didn’t think nothing of it, I just threw it out,” says Mims. “I opened the door with the tips of my fingers. I asked my husband, did you put a napkin in the door? And he said no.”
She touched the tissue and threw it away and continued to her normal routine “Five minutes and my whole arm started tingling and feeling numb. I couldn’t breathe,” Mims continues, “I started getting hot flashes, my chest was hurting, and my heart was beating fast.”
After touching the tissue, her husband took her to the hospital but there was little they could do and the effects of the tissue were high. Mims states that “They said my vitals were all over the place. The doctor came in, and told me it wasn’t enough in my system to determine what it was, but said it was acute poisoning from an unknown substance.” Her doctor even told her it was most likely a failed kidnap attempt and she was lucky that someone was there to help her get to the hospital.
A more recognized way that men attack women is to get them separated from everyone else and that’s all they need to hurt, damage, and take a woman like hunted prey. Many police officers and detectives such as Shelly Martin say to “never go anywhere by yourself, especially women, it’s sad to say but that’s the truth.”
Attackers in the backseats is a well-known but very real and dangerous situation that does happen to women and typically ends in the women being kidnapped or killed. FBI.org helps to share a confession of one of these backseat killers, Samuel Little. This situation appears in movies, shows, books, and other forms of media such as the film Urban Legend.
Whatever the cause, the effects of these attacks are destructive. Women who experience violence are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder according to PTSD.va.gov. They are also more likely to experience physical injuries, unwanted pregnancies, and even death.
Predators will manipulate your emotions and take action to catch you. Even whether it comes to romantic relationships, the workplace, or even education.
Creating Emotional Dependency:
The predator’s first move in a love relationship is to establish emotional dependence. They are very supportive and lavish their victims with gifts, flattery, and undivided attention. It occurs when the abuser gives the victim everything they could need or want. Then they’ll start acting differently, mistreating them until they are placed in risky situations or even institutions.
Using Manipulative Behavior and Language:
Verbal Sexual harassment is also known as the use of manipulative language. The abuser will gradually start to turn negative, making fun of the victim’s appearance, and choice of friends, and attempting to control as much as possible. Predators will begin to make their victims believe they are to blame for everything, including the way the predator treats them leading them to reevaluate their entire existence.
Then there is gaslighting which involves the exploitation of past experiences, memories, or things like childhood trauma. The abuser exploits this and makes the victim think that what they’ve experienced was a deception and that they were the problem.
Pushing Physical and Sexual Boundaries: Physical harassment might result from dominant and controlling behavior. Beginning with innocent touching, it will eventually progress to unwelcome and unwanted touching or nonconsensual sexual intercourse. This may occur in a variety of settings, including workplaces. In a professional setting remarks or actions might seem unoffensive, but if they become persistent over time, they’ll become harassment.
Jealous and Controlling Behavior:
Sexual predators will display jealousy that can often turn into controlling or dominant behavior. Predators show extreme possessiveness toward their victims, friends, co-workers, sometimes family members, or other people that are in close contact with them. The predator will begin to monitor their victims’ comings and goings, even attempting to restrict the victim’s contact with other people.
Being in Close Contact with Children: Predators come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Male heterosexuals are more likely to be among them. To control children, they’ll employ a variety of strategies and gimmicks. Phases are one of these techniques
- “Can you keep a secret
- “You’re my special friend”
- “Let’s spend some quality alone time together”
- “Does someone need a hug”
- “Want to hear a dirty joke”
- “ Your parents don’t understand you. I know how you feel”
- “Let’s play the pocket game”
First, it will start as innocent and cute like a hug and a kiss on the cheek, or saying that’s my special friend and gift giving. Saying that their parents don’t understand them, to try and separate the parents to ensure their trust. As time goes by it will continue to escalate like spending alone time together and playing games like the pocket game (where they have money in their undergarments and the child has to find it).
This leads to the predators encouraging sexual contact and introducing them to sexually explicit shows, movies, and videos. If your child experiences any of this take precautions and let them know they can talk to you.
The good news is that there are ways to fight back against these attacks. Governments and organizations around the world are working to create laws and policies that protect women from violence and discrimination. Additionally, grassroots organizations are providing support and empowerment to women who have experienced violence.
It’s been proven that men have a sixth sense of spotting vulnerability. Most men like confident women dressed in modern or revealing clothes, over curvy women wearing jeans and a t-shirt. They’ll seek out kind-hearted and compassionate women who are willing to assist everyone without even knowing them.
Predators will do anything to get you alone. All it takes is one time. However it’s the element of surprise, they think of women as helpless, petite, and fragile. When you know how to defend yourself, your attackers are taken aback, giving those few seconds to find your escape or fight for it.
You should always use hiding as a last resort if you find yourself in a room with an attacker. If possible, instead of running or hiding, confront them directly.
Tips (In your own home):
- Get to know your neighbors
- Small security cameras
- Get a type of animal that can protect you
- Know your house (entry points, a place to hide
- Know where live (city, street, zip code)
- Hide secret Weapons
- Tips (Unknown Area):
- Always be aware of your surroundings
- If you feel like you’re being watched, get somewhere where there are’s people.
- Use your phone to see behind you.
- Go on call so you’re not alone
- Getting portable door locks to take with you wherever you go
- Keychain tasers
- Door stopper alarms
- Window locks
- Pocket knife
- Key in knuckles
Anything that you can find around your surroundings that is heavy can knock your attacker unconscious or damage them enough to make your escape.
This can be left near your door in case you ever need to make a quick getaway and you have some supplies such as;
- Extra clothes
- Burner phone
- A little bit of money
- Medical kit
- Notebook (to write what happened and to keep your mind off the incident)
At the same time, individuals need to take action as well. People must recognize that violence against women is a serious problem and take steps to ensure that our communities are safe and respectful places for all. People must speak out against violence and discrimination and support those who have experienced it.
The fight against violence against women is far from over. But with the right policies, support, and action, we can make a difference and create a world where all women are safe and respected.