So, recently something happened which made me think of several things, one of those being how to protect oneself when you have a disability.
Now, people with disabilities, especially those with visible disabilities, are seen as ‘easy’ targets to possible assailants. People think that because we have a disability, we are weak! Off course, that is not true, we’re no weaker than any other person. In fact, sometimes a disability can work to your advantage when fending off an attacker.
Now, I will be talking about tips to ensure you are better protected in your home, and then tips to ensure you are more aware of what to do when you face a possible dangerous situation, and what to do when you are faced with fending off an attack. Off course, a lot of these tips are also useful for people without disabilities.
How to better ensure your safety in your own home:
ALWAYS keep your doors locked. Even when you have visitors, lock the door behind them. I have learned from experience that some people are not afraid to break in even when you are at home or have visitors. Keeping your doors locked ensures that they will not be so eager to try that when someone is home.
HAVE some sort of sound system that you can activate when something happens, so your neighbours will be aware they need to call for help when they hear it. Not only is this handy for when there is an intruder, but it also comes in handy for when you fall down and can’t get up, need help and can’t reach the phone to call for it. The alarm will alert others that you are in need of assistance.
ALWAYS have a phone nearby, best to have it on your person. I know not everyone has a cell phone, but for those who do, always keep it with you. So if something happens, you can immediately dial for help.
ALWAYS keep your windows closed and locked during the night or when you’re not home, and make sure they can not be opened from the outside.
USE peep holes in order to identify the individual at the door, before you open the door.
DO NOT hide any spare keys outside of your home, big NO NO!
BE AWARE of everyone who has a key to your home and make sure you trust those individuals with your safety.
IF your car is in the shop being worked on, and you hand over your key chain with car keys, make sure there are no house keys on them!
IF your keys are lost or stolen, IMMEDIATELY change the locks!
IF you think someone is in your house, leave if you are able to and contact the authorities. If you are not able to leave, contact the authorities and hide if you can. If necessary, make a lot of noise in order to alert your neighbour to the fact that something is wrong. It will also throw any intruder off guard if you do that.
Be aware of your surrounding when you go out:
When you go out, be it alone or with company, but especially when you are alone, be very aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the people in your vicinity. Always be on guard, but don’t show that. Show that you are comfortable, strong and not afraid to walk somewhere on your own. If you are alone in the outside world, and you show that you’re afraid or uncomfortable, you show potential attackers that you more accessible to an attack. Be confident, but don’t be cocky!
Always plan ahead! When you go somewhere, even if it’s just the local store, consider the possibilities or what might happen where you are going. Is it a bad neighbourhood? Then you know you need to be extra vigilant and assert a strong personality. Even if it’s a good neighbourhood, you still need to be vigilant. An attack can occur anywhere, anyplace. So always be aware of your environment.
Avoidance! When you see someone or something suspicious, turn around and go the other way. That way, you might be avoiding a possibly dangerous encounter. Running away does not make you a coward, it makes you smart! It is always better to leave than to stay when facing a possible dangerous encounter. Even if it does not look suspicious or dangerous to the person next to you, if it looks that way to you, leave! Don’t mind what others think, always trust your own instincts!
What to do when you ARE attacked:
Sometimes, no matter how vigilant and careful you are, you can’t avoid an attack. Here’s some tips on what to do when an attack does happen.
There are many different types of attacks. For example, someone might come up to you with a knife or gun and demand you give over your money and/or belongings. When that happens, do what they say! Don’t stare at their faces, don’t protest, simply do it! In such an attack, giving in is usually the safest option and the quickest way to get rid of them. Most robbers will leave if they face no resistance and get what they want. Money or material things are not worth your life! Don’t panic and be smart, don’t try to resist them when they have a clear upper hand over you.
Then there are the attacks that turn physical. Attackers that thrive on the thrill of beating someone up before taking whatever they have. Those attackers are not likely to ask for anything, they’ll just attack. These are the types of situations that demand defending yourself. But how to do that when you have a disability, and are therefore at a disadvantage? Simple, turn your disability into your advantage.
For example, you are attacked from behind while you are in a wheelchair. Use your wheelchair as your weapon of defence. Run your wheelchair over their feet, ram it into their stomach, or against their shins. Same thing when they attack you from the front.
These are some of the weakest parts of an attacker: the throat, eyes, nose, groin, kneecaps and shins. If you are attacked, fight back by attacking those parts of your assailant.
If you are using crutches and you are attacked, your biggest weakness is your instability. You can, however, fight back. You can sit down and use your crutches as weapon of defence. Smack them in the groin, in the knees or the face until they are either incapacitated or run away.
Another important thing to do when you are attacked is to stay calm! It’s very easy to panic in such a situation, but panic will not help you. Therefore, it is important that you stay calm and think one step ahead of the assailant. Also, make NOISE! Scream at the top of your lunges. And do not stop making noise until you are safe!
What you have to understand is, most assailants who go after people with disabilities are convinced that those disabled people will NOT fight back. When you do fight back, you have another advantage: the element of SURPRISE! They will not expect it when you fight back, which in turn will throw them off their ‘game’.
Also, as soon as you get the chance, get as far away from the assailant as you can and contact the authorities. Do NOT clean up or take a shower until you have been properly examined by authorities and given the go ahead to clean up. Also, if you are alone, call a friend or family member to come to you and give you support. It is important to surround yourself with loved ones after such a thing happens.
So, remember, having a disability does NOT mean you are weak! You can just be as strong and able to defend yourself as any other person, you just have to be a bit more creative about it. As said, use whatever means available to defend yourself against an assailant.
I hope you found this blog topic interesting, and feel free to tell me what topic you want me to tackle next. Until next time! Hugs!