Evading A Predatory Encounter – Failing the Interview

by Colin McNulty

I’ve just read this excellent story by Kit, an American female cop who was off on sick leave (walking with a stick) who encountered a potential predator whilst out taking photos of a river.

Not only did she get a photo of her would-be attacker (right), but gives a full narrative of “the interview”, the process by which a predator sizes up their prey, before deciding whether to act. Not only that but she details the key elements which meant she successfully “failed” the interview (if that makes sense) and the encounter didn’t turn violent.

In summary they were:

  • Listen to your instincts and raise your awareness levels when your instincts tell you it’s time.
  • Keep your eye on a potential bad guy.
  • When it’s time, make sure you’re facing the threat.
  • Take charge whilst there’s still distance between you and the bad guy.
  • Don’t behave like prey, if you don’t want him to behave like a predator.
  • Choose safety over a “civilised” response.

I want to just explain that last point a bit. You may be surprised to learn that criminals are often experts at social psychology (though they may not realise it) and are well versed in victim manipulation. Notice how the story here (car battery flat, want a jump start but can’t afford the tow truck) pulls on the heart strings and whilst a Good Samaritan response would be to help, that would massively increase the risk.

When faced with a situation where you’re being asked to do something that your gut it telling you to be wary of, it’s often useful to remind yourself of the gross circumstances. In this example: lone female, injured, in an isolated spot, approached by a strange man asking for help, some excuse why no one else will do.

The answer of what to do should be obvious and Kit did a marvellous job of making the choices to fail his interview.

“self defence” is more about attitude and mindset

Many people I speak to don’t realise that “self defence” is more about attitude and mindset, than it is about fancy but impractical knife disarm moves say. Which is why I call myself a Personal Safety Coach, not a Self Defence Instructor.

I also prefer Coach to Instructor, as in my mind a coach allows you to unlock or access your current capacity for something, whereas an instructor teaches you something you didn’t know before. Everyone knows how to keep themselves safe; it doesn’t take years of training, rather just a few hours. It’s simple and easy and a lot of fun too. If you want to discover how, take a look at our upcoming course list.

At the time of writing, the next one is in 11 days. I hope to see you there.

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