Thursday, March 15, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Protect yourself against rapists
An abduction and rape last October in the parking lot of a popular South Florida Mall was a wake-up call for a lot of young women. In tonight's Don't be a Victim, 7's J.P. Hervis tells us there are ways to make sure rapists don't target you.
Ashley: "Horrifying. It was absolutely horrifying, and that fact that her child was in the back seat made it all the worse."
Ashley, a mother of three, knows the victim.
Her whole family has experienced the repercussions of this, and it's something that nobody wants to be in her shoes.
And it was a wake-up call for this young mother. She decided to take action.
She enrolled in a rape agression defense class taught by the Coral Gables Police Department.
Class participant: "It made me learn to stop the fear and just react."
Officer Jackson: "The main thing is to survive. If that means you have to physically get involved then that is what you need to do."
Officer Frank Jackson says you don't have to be a victim.
Classes like this teach a number of moves anyone can use when it's time to fight back.
Class participant: "I feel that any situation -- I can handle it securely, confidently, and especially knowing if I am with my children. You know, I have kids to come home to, and there is no way that I'm not going to put up a fight."
Officer Jackson says using your fist is only a small part of protecting yourself. Using your mind is really what's going to keep you safe.
Officer Jackson: "This type of crime happens everywhere, everyday, and you need to be aware."
Always remember, attackers look for easy targets.
People who are fumbling through their purse for keys or those who are talking on their cell phone and not paying attention.
Ashley: "A lot of it is common sense. You just need to be aware. Always just be, hope for the best, expect the worst."
So when you are out and about, keep an eye on who is around.
Watch them, they may be watching you.
Figure out if they belong where you are.
Reduce the chances of you becoming a victim based on where you park, based on how you walk.
Officer Jackson says that means park where there is a lot of traffic.
Look around as you walk.
And, finally, make sure you know where your headed because trouble could be right around the corner.
Avoid certain situations. If it doesn't look great, it doesn't look kosher, walk the other way.
If you are approached by someone with a weapon, Officer Jackson says don't get physical, it may prompt them to use it.
Wait for a chance to yell, not scream for help.
Officer Jackson: "When you scream it is almost the type of thing that people tune out, like a car alarm or a house alarm."
With these lessons learned, Ashley says she's more secure now than ever before.
J.P. Hervis: "Do you feel more empowered?"
She hopes others will take the same steps she has, so her friend's nightmare won't happen to anyone else.
The man who raped Ashley's friend in the Falls Shopping Center back in October is still on the loose.
$11,000 in reward money is offered for any tip that leads to his capture.
Just call Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS.