Beware you aspiring home invaders, women are willing and able to fight back. And you never know what they will have lying around their house to club you over the head with!
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In the grand tradition of this wonderful holiday weekend I was spending some quality time recovering on my couch, next to the fire, sifting through decorations. I was hoping someone had started to air “A Christmas Story” and was flipping through the channels when I came across the show “I Survived”. The episode featured a young lawyer named Jennifer Morey.
Jennifer lived alone and chose her apartment complex, in part, because of the protection provided by on site security guards. She was just starting her career, working long and late hours and always felt safe knowing a guard was there.
That safety was tested on April 15, 1995 when she awoke to find a man on top of her. She realized she was going to be raped and began to fight her attacker, a man who used her first name, but whom she did not recognize. During the struggle her attacker cut her throat almost from ear to ear. He then pulled her off the bed and threw her in the bathroom. Likely believing she would bleed to death, he told her to stay in there. Even after putting up such a fight and losing blood quickly, Jennifer was still able to use her lower body strength to keep the door closed with her feet until she believed her attacker had left and would not come for her again. She then ran from the bathroom and called 911.
Richard Everett was the dispatcher who picked up the line and together they began to try to save Jennifer’s life. He told her to add pressure to the wound, that help was on the way and tried to keep her calm. During the call, Jennifer heard a knock at the door. The man identified himself as Bryan Gibson, the security guard on duty. Jennifer told Richard that it was security and asked if she should open the door. The advice he gave her at that moment, based on intuition, was likely the most crucial thing he did that saved her life that night…DO NOT open the door.
Fortunately, Jennifer did not have to wait too long as police and ambulance arrived shortly after. They were greeted by the on duty security guard Bryan Gibson, who told them that he too had fought off the attacker after he escaped from Jennifer’s apartment. After reviewing the crime scene and Gibson’s injuries it wasn’t long before police realized that it was Gibson who was the attacker. He had left behind some crucial items at the scene. It’s believed he went back to Jennifer’s apartment when he realized this. To this day, Jennifer believes she would have been killed had she opened that door.
This may not have been the wonderful holiday movie I was searching for, but this story really stuck with me. Richard Beckett had no reason to think that the man at the door, whose job it was to protect the complex, was there to cause any harm. His intuition and quick thinking kept Jennifer safe.
Jennifer survived and began to rebuild her life. She won a civil lawsuit against the security company Gibson, who had twice been re-assigned because of behavior issues, worked for. In fact, from 1991- 1995 this security firm employed 130 guards that had felony records ( I’ll spend a little time on that in a future post). She is now a successful lawyer with her own practice. She met and married the man of her dreams a few years after the attack.
Richard Beckett was at her wedding and they remain close friends to this day…
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A dear friend sent me a link to this very sad story. Basically, a 15 year old girl was gang raped outside a school dance for over two hours while as many as 20 people watched or participated in the attack. No one called 9-1-1 or reported the crime. My friend sent me the link with a note attached that read, “why isn’t self-defense mandatory in high schools?” I don’t have an answer. I don’t know.
I also don’t know why so many kids stood by and allowed this to happen. There are already dozen of articles out there hypothesizing about what happened here. Was it a bystander effect (which is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when a large group of people witness a crime and diffuse responsiblity among the group)? Did they fear retaliation from the group? Have they been desensitized by the violent and sexual media that surround us? I could go on and on listing the theories that abound on this topic.
I recently took a CPR re-certification class. We had already learned half of the skills that the class teaches when one young girl in the back raised her hand and said, “ok, I understand how to do this, but how do I know when to do it?” It is an excellent question.
We teach our children about 9-1-1 from a young age, but do we tell them when to use it? Do we have them practice dialing the number (with the phone unplugged, of course) and teach them how to answer basic questions that an emergency dispatcher might ask? When we get in new situations, we often freeze and witnessing a violent crime is no different. When will we begin to teach our children the basic skills they need to survive and thrive in this world? Violence happens. We can’t ignore it or deny it. We must take responsiblity for teaching our children these skills. And we must learn to help each other. Afterall, if we weren’t put on this planet to help each other out, then what are we here for?
Our thoughts and prayers are with this girl, her family, and her community.
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It’s not uncommon for women to question their own ability when it comes to self defense. Especially, when they have never encountered a combat situation before. With that in mind, I wanted to post a reminder that when in doubt, act it out!
71-year-old, 3 time Olympic gold medalist, Dawn Fraser, fought off and helped capture a man who tried to rob her home north of Brisbane yesterday. When asked how she did it, Fraser replied “He threatened my life and I got really annoyed. This guy came out of the gate and grabbed me and I grabbed him by the ear and I kicked him in the groin.”
Hats off to Fraser, who is a shining example that you can open up a can o’ whoop ass, at any age!!