As women, we often hand over the responsibility of our own personal safety to others; our significant other, the big dog we're walking, the police, our employer or our friends; who we let talk us into things we have a bad gut feeling about.
The myth that someone else is going to save you should be packed away with moth balls. Although there are many accounts of someone helping someone in need, think about what decisions were made to put the person in a position of need in the first place. Of course, we sometimes do the right things and end up in an unfavorable situation but more often than not, we put ourselves there based on our false sense of confidence that someone else will take responsibility for our safety.
Real Life Story (Example): I went to an event with my favorite 40 women's group. It was a scavenger hunt with four women in each vehicle and a long list of ridiculous things to do and photograph before returning with the best photos to win the event.
I had three bad gut feelings about riding in a car with a virtual stranger (although a nice person and fellow member of the group). I justified my way out of following my gut feelings after several attempts to “adjust" the arrangement so that I would be the driver. Finally, I gave in saying to myself, "Kelly, just be like everyone else for once and stop being so concerned about safety. " That's a pretty strong statement since I have been a Personal Safety Trainer for over nine years and this situation was just a six months ago.
Reluctantly, but appearing to be as cheery as everyone else, I got in the back seat (didn't call “shotgun" quick enough) of a three door car without a way to get out unless the driver's door was already open. (This was the final of three bad gut feelings. The second was that it only had three doors to begin with. ) One of the justifications I employed was thinking that if a 40 gal had been driving for 25 years without getting in an accident, she could certainly be responsible for my safety for four hours.
The first thing the driver did was run a red light and before I could figure a “graceful" way out of the car, she turned across several lanes of oncoming traffic and caused what could have been a fatal accident for all of us!
While the police and fire department were at the accident scene, my co-passengers labored over how to stay in the event with a different driver (me) without “hurting the feelings" of the driver who almost killed us by doing one of the most idiotic things I've ever seen in my life for no apparent reason! I became the no-nonsense spokesperson and we changed cars and drivers and had a great day.
The benefit of this situation was that I was writing my book, "Back Off! The College Student's Guide To Safety" during this time and the book took on a whole new direction because of this event in my life. I rewrote it in two days! Grateful that none of us got hurt and for the inspiration, I always trust my gut feelings and negotiating with them is not an option!
There are numerous situations to illustrate how we give away the responsibility for our safety to others but I thought this simple example was a good one to share. The driver of the car we were in wasn't an attacker, but how many times to we trust someone we don't know well with our safety even though we have a bad gut feeling about a situation?
The date rape that occurred in my life as well as the domestic violence relationship I was involved in for two and a half terrifying years stemmed from my bad gut feelings but trusting someone else to “protect me. "
You are totally and completely responsible for your own personal safety. This allows you to keep your power instead of giving it away to someone else. Remember, our survival instinct is that our number one priority is our own safety, even if we are a parent. (That's why they say to put your oxygen mask on first on the airplane. ) Because this is true, think of this: when you trust someone else with your safety, you are automatically demoted to number two instead of number one! So trust your gut feelings and always follow the strong ones or repetitive ones.
Bonus Safety Tip: Being responsible attracts responsible people; being irresponsible attracts attackers. And now I would like to offer you free access to printed and audio versions of the “Seven Deadly Personal Safety Mistakes" plus 2 additional safety bonuses when you subscribe to a free weekly Safety Quick Tip. You can get your instant access (and a sample Safety Quick Tip) at http://www.PersonalSafetyTrainer.com