Even in this century, we continue to deal with age-old problems of serial killers and the individuals they target. It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives (source). And predators are not always what you expect. 79-year-old Samuel Little was only recently labeled by the FBI as the “Most Prolific Serial Killer” in U.S. History. There are approximately 90 victims and only 50 have been positively identified. Little’s victims have been mostly prostitutes who continue to be the targets of these types of killers. However, many women from a variety of professions have themselves been easy targets for these deranged individuals and sexual predators.

I believe several professions are increasingly vulnerable, including any person who meets individuals alone. This includes real estate agents, nurses who work late shifts, college students, and a host of other women who work late nights and travel alone. However, while we know that predators exist, there are some things that women can do to increase personal safety.

One of the solutions is to know your surroundings, know who you are meeting, avoid walking alone, and refuse to meet individuals alone. You should have a notice system put in place, which means means telling a friend, family member, co-worker etc. where you are and where you are going. Make sure they know what time you are leaving and what time to expect you to update them with your safe arrival to your destination. There are even a variety of safety apps that women can download on their smartphones, something that you’re likely to have on you as much as your car keys. Some of these apps, like Women Safety, have alert buttons and can send audio and video recording from the phone to the user’s preferred contact.

You should have a plan to defend yourself and be able to escape. You must fight and flight. I recommend that everyone carries some form of protection, like a weapon or pepper spray. There are some studies that suggest women who put up a fight or display themselves as a “hard target” are less likely to be targeted or successfully assaulted. More often than not, predators are looking for an “easy target” – someone who will do what they say without fuss. (NOTE: Never let an individual try to convince you that you won’t be harmed such as letting them drive you somewhere or attempting to put you in a trunk of a vehicle.)

One of the most popular ways to get around is by ride services like Uber and Lyft. Yet a college woman was killed after she mistook a stranger’s car for her Uber rideIt is not uncommon for predators to pose as drivers, so always be sure to confirm the name of your driver and the car. Avoid riding in the front seat, and stay safer in the back away from the driver. Open the maps application on your phone and follow along with the route you are taking – stay aware of any route adjustments. Dial 911 immediately if you feel as though you are in a dangerous situation on the road.

Awareness is a key survival instinct. If it does not look right, there is something wrong. Use the common sense that you have and trust your instincts.

For further information contact Forletta. Forletta provides “free” seminars and will educate your group,
association, or organization on personal safety.