By Jody Maki, CEO, GirlOnFire, LLC
Domestic violence, assault, stalking, home invasion, purse stolen, beaten in a parking lot, campus assault,…these are realities that happen every day, but nothing will ever happen to me.
This is what I commonly hear from the victims of crimes. They never thought it could happen to them. They only wish they were more prepared. So how do we move people to think about their personal safety before something happens to them? Through my training academy, I offer personal safety and victim prevention courses. I could spend thousands of dollars marketing these classes to the general public and sadly, they would never fill. Not because the training isn’t amazing and necessary, but because no one wants to believe they could become a victim of a crime.
When hearing about more and more campus assaults, I regularly reference the fact that the media and the public continually focus on the aftermath of incidents. Why is everyone missing the critical piece to avoiding all of this violence? Prevention.
I commend a lot of universities for incorporating programs within their campuses through campus police, etc., but again, they are missing something…attendance by the college women! They don’t believe anything will happen to them, just like the general population. So how do we keep them safe and stop our daughters from becoming a statistic? Creative approaches to this growing problem should be implemented immediately. We need to compel these women to make their personal safety a priority. I question the effectiveness of marketing through fear tactics; by showing other victims, listening to their stories, publishing statistics, bringing forth the reality. Women don’t want to listen because again, it’s not going to happen to them.
Another at-risk population where I hear this mantra is in the real estate industry. Over 100 realtors have been murdered on the job within the last 5 years. This statistic does not include assaults. Realtors regularly publish their personal information and pictures on large billboards and signs, advertising the fact that they will be in an open house, alone. Realtors are an easy target for predators and criminals. Unless someone has had an incident themselves, or has experienced one through someone close to them, they also do not believe it will happen to them. I can offer free safety training for realtors and the majority will never attend.
Safe neighborhoods, malls, movie theatres, and college campuses are all a thing of the past. Let’s become part of a movement to educate and train on preparedness, and prevention. Let’s get creative in our approaches so we can attract people to obtain this critical training and hopefully save some lives. I’m going to do everything I can so an incident won’t happen to me, but if someone tries, at least I did my due diligence and will hopefully prevail because of my own prevention and awareness training.