How to Remain both Kind and Safe
Most people make sure they’re on guard for criminals at places like airports and highway rest stops, but this is the level of awareness that should be utilized in all public areas. Nevertheless, predators still find ways to victimize kind, innocent human beings under virtually all circumstances. In fact, even though people are more alert while travelling or while out of town, predators still manage to commit crimes in these situations as well. In truth, it’s only a very small percentage of the population that desires to do you or your loved ones harm—but that’s why it’s imperative to know how to spot these people and protect the people you care about from them (including yourself). Please continue reading in order to be able to do just that.
#1: They persuade you with their interest in you.
Predators know the perfect questions to ask to get you to keep talking, to keep giving them information, and to keep warming up to them. Instead of feeling flattered in these scenarios, you should feel suspicious and avoid becoming isolated with the person.
#2: Convenient mutual misfortunes.
Author of The Gift of Fear Gavin de Becker explains that “forced teaming” is a manipulative technique which predators utilize to gain a victim’s trust. For example, after a canceled flight, train, or bus trip, a predator might come up to you out of nowhere and say something like, “How are we going to get home?” If you let your guard down, you could quickly find yourself collaborating just as rapidly as the two of you became “we.”
#3: Penetrating behavior.
If it’s obvious that someone is saying and doing things to make you question your beliefs, to frustrate you, or to seduce you, then this is cause to create more space between you instead of allowing them to get into your head further.
#4: Playing a victim in order to victimize.
Predators will often approach strangers and say something like, “Excuse me. I know you don’t know me, but I really need your help.” There’s nothing wrong with doing more probing to find out if it’s a genuine emergency, but you still shouldn’t give the person anything or go anywhere with the person alone until you’re sure that it’s right and safe to do so.
#5: Proclaiming commitment.
As per the 2010 report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, violence by a romantic partner—such as rape, abuse, or stalking—is experienced by approximately 30% of women and 10% of men. This is partly because predators compel victims to believe they’re both in loving relationships, or that they should enter into a romantic relationship (which makes it easier for them to victimize easily and repeatedly).
#6: Ignoring boundaries.
Predators will sit extremely close to you unnecessarily and they will pretend that doing so is entirely normal and friendly. However, sometimes this is all it takes to give a sex offender an opportunity to victimize you or someone you care about. Always speak-up and speak-out loudly when someone invades your personal space without your consent.
#7: Abuse of authority.
Authority figures such as bosses, teachers, lawyers, and politicians can easily take advantage of the power they hold over people in order to wrong them. Again, it’s only a small percentage of these people who are criminals overall, but it’s necessary to be prepared for the worst even if you do choose to expect the best.
#8: Digital victimizing.
Facebook and Twitter can make it very easy for predators to either victimize people online or make arrangements to victimize someone in person. Seemingly friendly online conversations between strangers can instantaneously turn into dangerous or deadly situations. Again, you must always be aware of these hazards even if they might only come up 1% of the time.
#9: Double lives.
Predators often live at least two completely different lives, so they are good at tailoring their thoughts and behaviors to maximize their chances of successfully manipulating unique individuals.
#10: Compelling charm.
It’s easy for a parent to tell when a predator is charming a child in order to gain their trust, but it’s much more difficult to realize it when an expert charmer is utilizing their skills on a flattered adult. Predators spend hours, weeks, months, years, decades, and sometimes even lifetimes practicing and honing their evil skills and abilities. Once again, never, ever let down your guard, and always keep track of where you and your loved ones are, and of and who else is nearby—whether you’re travelling or not.