Friday, 17 May 2019

FFS Friday - Situational Awareness

Regular readers will be aware of a few posts recently where I talk about various confrontations I've had with different men. It occurred to me that I should explain the thought process I go through before making the decision on whether it's safe to confront someone. I certainly don't recommend going around yelling at people if it's not safe. I only react to these situations if it's safe to do so. 

I learned this technique years ago, it's something I do automatically without thinking about it. Explaining it will probably make me sound totally paranoid but here goes. 

Always be aware of what's around you. So, for instance, if we go to the park I make sure I know who else is there. Are there any potential dangers, how many exits are there, what's the quickest way to get to our car, can I leave the carpark once I'm in the car?

On the day that man yelled at me at the park after other kids hurt his unsupervised child I knew it was safe to yell back at him for the following reasons: 
There were three other men close by, two of whom were watching what was happening. 
He couldn't get to me before I could get us all to the car. To get to me he would have had to walk around the playground as he was too big to fit between the poles. If he'd started coming towards us the kids and I would have squeezed between the poles and ran to our car.  
I can fight and he looked unfit so he would have been slower than me. 
He bought a child with him to confront me, therefore he wasn't brave so unlikely to try to physically harm me or the children.

If we'd been alone at the park with no-one else around, I might not have yelled at him as it wouldn't have been as safe.  

Being aware of your surroundings is very important and could mean the difference between being safe or being harmed.

A few weeks ago we were at the park and there was a man sitting on a bench staring at us. Initially it didn't bother me as there were two other cars there. The guy who was staring at us got into his car and moved it so that it was facing us, then sat in his car staring at us. 

I memorised his number plate and when both the other cars left we headed for our car as it was no longer safe to be at the park.
He'd parked in a way that he could easily block my exit which would have meant I was stuck in the car with no access to the road. 

There was no-one else around so if anything had happened there wouldn't have been any witnesses. His car was parked between the playground and our car so I got out my keys and my phone. I told the boys to get straight into the car and lock their doors. When we were going to the car I openly stared at the man so that he knew I was aware of him and so that he couldn't sneak up on us. 

I kept our car locked until we got to it, locked the doors as soon as we were inside and took off as quickly as possible. He didn't follow us.

Perhaps it was all innocent, but I didn't feel safe so I removed us from that situation. 

That's what situational awareness is all about. Being aware of your surroundings, knowing what risk factors there are and making sure you can get you and your loved ones out safely.

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