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Teen Dating Violence

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Teen Dating Violence

May 14, 2018

Recent research has shown that a substantial number of women are unfortunately being abused while dating. In fact the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 4 adolescents have experienced violence or partner abuse. The alarming fact about Teen Dating Violence is that this age group is particularly susceptible and it'll equipped to deal with violent situations.

Teen Dating Violence is actually a subset of intimate partner violence, which is by far the most common form of violence against women. Some people have the mistaken thought that women are attacked by strangers, when in fact this is highly unlikely. Approximately 80 to 90% of all attacks against women are committed by acquaintances that they already know. The generic term for this is intimate partner violence. It is a particularly difficult topic to deal with because the perpetrators are often well-known to the victims.

The reasons for teen Dating Violence often back to issues around self-esteem and control.

Low self-esteem

When a person in a relationship has low self-esteem they often look to control their partner. This stems from the fact that they may not believe enough in themselves or their self-worth. A person in a relationship who is not confident in themselves is more likely to attempt to control their partner through intimidation, fear, force and violence. People, especially young man, who are in their teens tend to have lower self-esteem then those who are older. Their lives are less established and they have less control in general over their circumstances. This lack of self-esteem often leads them to participate in actions that might be not in anyone's interest.

Immaturity

People of a younger age are still developing physically, mentally, and emotionally. The mental and emotional aspects of their development may still be substantially behind their peer group. Quite often women develop these traits earlier than young men. If someone is still immature for their age they may have difficulty communicating and expressing themselves, and they may not have the ability to control their responses to complex emotions like attraction, jealousy, and love.

Upbringing

We tend to assume that other people have been raised like we have and have the same set of social skills that we do. This is obviously not true and is unique to each person's circumstances. If a person was not raised well with the proper understanding and context of how to treat other people and how to express themselves through means other than violence they may act out their emotions in unexpected ways.

Peer pressure

When people reach a certain age their upbringing is often influenced more by the people they associate themselves with than their parents. if someone is surrounded by people who are pressuring them to behave a certain way or to exert a certain level of control, even if it goes against their own beliefs, they may end up succumbing to this pressure. The unfortunate outcome could be violence against their partners.

Inexperience

Like any other endeavor, dating can take time to figure out. When someone is first starting out dating they may not understand the complexities of relationships or how messy they can become. They may not understand the emotional toll that it can take on themselves and other people. They may have preconceived notions of what a relationship is like and how their partner should behave. When these expectations are not met or utterly obliterated, combined with elements that we talked about above, they may take unfortunate actions against their partner.

One of the main things that both parents and teens need to understand is that violence at this age is not uncommon. As mentioned above as many as one in four teens experience violence while dating. When you think about the sheer numbers of people this could represent you begin to understand why this problem needs to have a certain amount of seriousness and attention paid to it.

What to do when being followed in your car.

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Care Driving Safety

January 18, 2018

Many people are followed while driving in their cars. Most of the time it may be innocent and inadvertent, but sometimes it can be malicious and with intent to harm. The key is to figure out if someone is actually following you and what their intent may be.

  1. To determine if they are following you take a series of turns in the same direction (to the right or to the left). It is highly unlikely that someone will be randomly taking that many similar turns as you are.
  2. Notice identifying features of the vehicle and person driving. Items like the make, model and color of the car, as well as the license place number can be relayed to police. Also, try to get any details about the driver.
  3. If you have protective equipment on you or in the car, this is the time to get them ready.
  4. Call the police. Inform them that you are being followed, where you are and describe the car. They will direct you to the nearest police station. 

Being followed can be a very serious situation. For more information please check out the video below: 

Stalking - What to do when someone is stalking you

What to do when someone is stalking you

August 1, 2017

Unfortunately I have had numerous students who have had to deal with stalkers. Sometimes they are violent, sometimes just a nuisance, but they almost always disrupt your life in some way. Dealing with a stalker is not an easy task, and may involve more time and energy than you think it should. (As an aside, we have a great Escape and Evasion course offered - check here to see if one is on the calendar) Lets dig into some of the specifics of how to handle this.

The first thing I usually ask: is this person known to be dangerous? When presented with a stalker I want to know if I'm dealing with someone who has already been violent. If someone has been violent in the past, I 100% expect they can be again in the future. If they have not, I assume that they could be, but that we may have a little time on our hands. Based on their history we can start to build a background on what types of actions are most likely to happen in the future. Once we start painting a picture of their history, I want to know more about them and relationship they have to the victim. Everything is on the table, but a background on someone starts to fill in the missing pieces.

The next thing I want to know is the victims immediate circumstances. Where do they live? Where do they work? How much free cash do they have? Do they have safe people in their circle? Do they have a safe place to go? Are they armed? What plans have they already made? The questions about the victim tell me about their state of mind, their personal circumstance, and how much of a safety net they have to fall back on. The type and detail of the plans they have made tell me if they are taking this serious or not. 

In many cases (most actually) people do not take stalkers nearly serious enough. When someone is stalking you, and is dedicated to it, a tremendous amount of their time and resources are dedicated to the effort. It is something that is clearly important to them. If you are the subject of the stalking, you should keep that in mind before dismissing it as just someone who is seeking attention. They have already put their lives on hold to pursue you, threaten you, and interrupt your life. You should take their threats seriously.

Tips to become better prepared

Here are some good tips I've developed over the years.

Mindset

Imagine that you get a call - "You cannot go home and you need to be hard to find. NOW!" What would you do? That is the mindset you need to have when thinking about how to deal with a stalker. When you think about everything through that lens it changes everything. The comfortable life and luxuries you have now can suddenly be removed for an undetermined about of time. 

Action

Establish a plan of action.

  1. Create distance! The more dangerous and disruptive the stalker, the further you may need to go. The safest place to be is not anywhere in the vicinity of the stalker.
  2. Where would you go if you needed a safe place. A family members home may be a good short term option, but if your stalker knows your family they will look there first. Have a backup family member or friend to stay with. Alternative housing/hoteling is a good option if you can afford it.
  3. How will you survive financially? This is where a safety net comes in very handy. You may need some financial assistance in the short term. I recommend keep at least $100 on your person (more if you can swing it) for emergencies. 
  4. Document every interaction with your stalker. It can be used as evidence to support your case against them should it end up in court. 
  5. Arm yourself. You might want a taser or some other non-lethal weapon, or even a firearm. The degree to which you arm yourself will depend on the perceived level of violence and your ability to use it. 
  6. Have a bag of essentials. Sometimes referred to as a "bug out bag" or a "go bag", this is a bag of essential items that will help you survive for a short period of time should you find yourself needing to be on the move immediately. 
  7. Create a police report. The police can't help if they don't know you are in trouble. Even if you just file a police report, at least the paper trail is officially started and will be reference point should anything escalate. If you need a restraining or protective order, I suggest you file one as soon as possible. This will also let the stalker know that you are serious about stopping them and that the authorities know about them. If you are successful in getting one, and the stalker violates it, there can be very real and serious consequences. 

Be aware of your surroundings

This sounds a bit cliche, but it is all too often true. We get comfortable with who and what is around us. We fall into routines, eat at the same place, work at the same place, and generally have a very similar schedule on a daily basis. You should be very mindful as you move through life, especially when you are being stalked. I tell students to be "prepared, not paranoid." Sometimes I hear that this is a huge amount of effort for some, when in reality it's just being conscientious of the goings on around you, and especially who is doing them. Being on the lookout for suspicious people, vehicles and situations should be a common practice anyway, and is a must when you are being stalked.

Worst case scenario's

As I mentioned earlier, many people do not take their situation as seriously as they should. Just because someone is stalking you does not mean they will be taken to jail or otherwise stopped through legal instruments. When I tell people this they seem to be taken completely off guard, not understanding that even though a stalker is bothering you it may not elevate to the level of legal enforcement. Many times people can't understand why their stalker just doesn't stop stalking. 

In the worst case scenarios, stalking can lead to:

  • Being taken hostage (in various forms)
  • Being injured or killed
  • Having property damaged or destroyed 
  • Having your entire life, image, work, business, and relationships affected

In some instances I simply recommend that people relocate to another part of the country, even if temporarily. Given the seriousness of some situations, your life is more important than what you might lose by staying. I tell people that they aren't running, just starting a new chapter in their lives.

Students attending one of our Escape and Evasion courses.

Students attending one of our Escape and Evasion courses.

Women's Self Defense

I have either been at a gym training or owned one myself going on about 25 years. Over those years I have seen a distinct lack of women training in self-defense. Usually women consist of about 10 - 20% of the schools population. I noticed this problem when I was training in BJJ/MMA and again while a newer student in Krav Maga. There were just not that many women training.

Women have some distinct problems that men usually don't face:

  • They are sexually harassed at a much higher rate
  • They are stalked at a much higher rate
  • They suffer from physical spousal abuse at a much higher rate
  • They are raped at a much higher rate
  • They are injured or killed by partners at a much higher rate
  • They may feel scared or unsafe in many places where a man feels no threat
  • They are often physically smaller and have less muscle mass than many men
  • Their nature is to be less physically violent
  • Socially they are not brought up to fight (at least not like many men are)

The reasons for women to learn self-defense are numerous. Beyond just the physical safety skills learned, there are emotional benefits and the empowerment that comes from the training. I have had so many life changing stories of women learning self-defense, even coming to just one class, that I made it my mission to make our gym as female friendly as possible. The results speak for themselves. 

  • We have conducted over 30 women's self-defense workshops in that last two years
  • 40%+ of our daily students are women
  • We have observed many classes where there are more women than men training
  • We have several advanced female students and assistant instructors
  • We recently booked an event for 100 (yes, 100!) women to attend a women's self-defense workshop
  • Our MeetUp group has 1200+ members!

How do we succeed in getting women to train? The answer is we encourage women to train and we make our school welcoming to them. We present classes in a way that allows women to participate without being intimidated or talked down to. We also have noticed that parents want their daughters to train in self-defense, so we made family memberships affordable

-Mike

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