Monday, April 22, 2013

Condition: Ready - Couples

By Dave Dargo

We've spoken a lot about preparation, awareness and readiness for individuals but what do you do when you're with another person, your significant other, for example.

When the two of you are walking across a parking lot and a stranger approaches you, what do you do?  Do you just assume that because you're in a public space that no threat exists?  Such an assumption could be a serious mistake.  You may not have noticed a predator's accomplice approaching from behind.  While being distracted by someone asking for directions you are actually in a more precarious position when standing so closely together.

As with all preparation and planning, the time to come up with a plan is not when something goes wrong.  If you wait until something happens before coming up with your plan you will not only be flummoxed individually but you will also be gravely concerned about your partner.  You will likely stare at one another and be flooded with thoughts not only about what to do but what your partner is going to do and what your partner expects from you.

Predators have fairly specific patterns that are repeated:
  • They look for people who are not aware
  • They don't have a plan "B"
  • They will repeat their demands if you don't comply
  • They expect people to abide by societal norms and not want to make a scene
So, how does a couple deal with this simple situation: approached by a stranger asking for directions while still wanting to maintain some level of civility?  Simple, split up.

If someone approaches my wife and me wanting to engage, the person initially engaged says to the other, "I'll catch up with you in a second."  This is a signal and confirmation to the other that they should continue on.  The person not-engaged, the one who continues on their way goes just a little further past and turns around and watches the interaction.

With this simple move, the couple are now able to see one another, one person can see the back of the person who approached and both can see beyond their partner for any potential accomplices approaching.  This also puts the person who approached at a disadvantage because they can only see the person engaged.

If you don't think about this in advance then you won't be able to do it when it happens.  The odds are very much in your favor that the person approaching really is an innocent person who needs directions.  On the other hand, having read this, how will you feel if you're approached by a predator and didn't take this simple precaution.

Preparation, visualization and planning go a long way towards maintaining your personal safety.  Simple plans like the one outlined above are easy to think about, very simple to implement and quite effective.

Next up, how many times have you prevented yourself from being a victim?

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