Do you have a fire escape plan? In fifth grade the fire lady used to come to our class and talk about fire safety. I’m sure she had a name other than fire lady, but that’s who she was to me. She told us it was important to have a fire escape plan at home and to practice them. By having fire drills if the real event ever happened, we’d know exactly what to do because we would have prepared for it.
Sports teams have drills and practice their skills so when they’re in the stress of a game, they’ll slip into auto pilot, producing as they’ve practiced. Our military practices as well. They have drill weekends for those in the reserves to come together and practice so if called into battle, they’re ready.
Two weeks ago I posted a blog about my Divergent friend, Beatrice, being targeted in a Dollar General by a possible trafficker. If you missed it, you can read it here. That post generated a lot of discussion. Several parents were concerned about their children and wanted to know how to prepare them for similar situations without freaking them out.
Honestly, talking about those situations may be a little scary at first; however, it is important to discuss what could happen and how you would handle it. Just like running through a fire drill prepares you for a fire, role playing a situation is helpful.
- What would you say if someone you didn’t know asked for your cell phone number, even if he was cute?
- What would you do if someone started following you in a store?
- How do you handle friend requests from people on your social media?
Ironically, while I was having these conversations through the comments of the blog post, a friend of mine who lives in Minnesota private messaged me on Facebook. This is what she had to say,
My niece foiled an attempt at her own abduction last Saturday as she was out for a run in her neighborhood in Powder Springs, GA. Police feel it was likely for human trafficking.”
She went on to say her brother-in-law had talked with his daughter about what could happen to her out running on her own. They talked through what she should do if faced with a situation and he even had her carry a knife for protection when she went out running. He told her to always fight back, because,
It’s better to get shot in the street where others can see you and stop to help than to get in the vehicle. Once you are in the vehicle, it’s over.”
When a pickup truck stopped and one of the three men got out to grab her, he was surprised. Not only did she punch, shove and kick, but she pulled a knife. She had demonstrated enough skill that he ran back to the truck and they took off. She used her cell phone to call 911 and they used her GPS in her cell phone to get to her quickly. You can read about the incident here.
Now hear me clearly, I am not saying everyone needs to carry a knife and be prepared to pull it on anyone who happens to come near them. I am saying everyone needs to have a plan. Talk through various situations and determine in advance how you would handle them. What would you do? What would you say? Where would you go?
A plan won’t help you if you don’t remain alert and aware of your surroundings. 1 Peter 3:8 says,
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Not only are we to be alert, but self-controlled. Stay calm. Don’t get all crazy, looking for the devil behind every bush or lamppost, but simply be aware of your surroundings. It may be the difference between you being a victim or victor.
I wonder about running myself, i actually prefer to run with my daughter in the jogging stroller thinking that it is safer than gong out alone, maybe they wouldn’t bother with a mom.. I also bring one of my small dogs with me some of the time. I don’t know what is the better combination. I don’t want to put my daughter at risk. We have sex offenders in our neighborhood and I am very concerned. Thank you
Sarah, consider running with a cell phone to call for help or mace so you have a way to fight back. It’s a sad reality that we can’t go out for a run without worrying for our safety.
Thank you. I always have my phone but I will add some mace. I have thought about it a few times since finding out there are 5 offenders just in my small neighborhood
Wow, Sarah. Please be careful. I’m a runner too (or I was until plantar faciitis put me to the curb for 6 months). I know you just want to run and not think about anything, but in our world today, you can’t afford to get lost in the run. Blessings!
and it’s not just girls. Boys/young men are taken also. They are raped (etc.) also.