I got a very disturbing email from a friend today. It went like this:
Last night as I was coming home from meeting a friend, I got mugged by two guys. It happened right outside my building. I’m okay, but they roughed me up a bit and it was obviously a scary situation. I think I’m still in shock, as I’m always very self-aware of my surroundings (and have always been paranoid about people following me too closely when I’m walking by myself) and can’t really believe that this happened.
I knew there was someone behind me who had been matching my pace for a couple of blocks. When I sped up, he sped up. It was dark and no one was outside. I thought about stopping outside the restaurant at the corner of my block, where there were diners in the window but no one outside. I didn’t, because I didn’t want to act like anything was wrong or make myself seem vulnerable, which was the same reason I didn’t look over my shoulder. I live half a block up, so I just kept going and walked faster.
Of course, that was really stupid. As I was outside my building putting my keys in, one of the guys approached me very calmly as though he just happened to have the same destination. He even said, “Excuse me ma’am,” before they started overpowering me.
The second dumb thing I did was not give them my purse. I didn’t even realize that I was doing it, because they were extremely violent and I was just trying to protect myself. I didn’t know I was still holding on to my bag.
The third thing I did was start screaming. Incidentally, I found out later that most of my neighbors thought the source of the screaming was from tourists on the cable car going down the hill. But the two dudes kept beating me, so then I started screaming, “Help!” over and over again. That’s when they ran away, and when my neighbors came out.
I just wanted to share what happened because I think we could all use a reminder of what to do if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Lots of times I’ve stopped in a populated area and waited for the person to pass, and it was stupid of me not to do that last night. I also should have just given them my bag and I could have avoided violence, but I just didn’t think. Also, remember to scream for help. Even my neighbors who didn’t think about the cable car screamers got their asses outside when they heard a woman screaming for help and realized it was serious.
I also wanted to mention this because my cousin was mugged with her friend at gunpoint in the Inner Richmond a few months ago (they were smart and handed their stuff over right away). There have also been a couple of other muggings in my neighborhood that I’ve heard about. One women got punched in the face right in front of the fire station on a weekday afternoon–an anomaly, I’m sure, but still.
Be careful, and feel free to pass this on to your friends.
So. Short of packing an illegal weapon, what CAN a woman (or anyone for that matter) do to protect oneself?
Well – one is learning self-defense. I’m a big fan of Krav Maga – a no-nonsense martial art. I’ve only taken a few lessons, but this incident reminded me that it’s time I take more. I also contacted them to see if they’d be willing to pass on some specials to readers of this blog and my newsletter. You MUST mention my name (Luba) to get the specials….
- First off – FREE 3 day pass. Unlimited access to 60+ classes 7 days/week! Krav Maga – Strength Training – Yoga…etc.
- Secondly – Sign up for a 6-month or 1year contract and pay only $1 for the months of November & December!
And if you think you don’t want to take a lesson, or would like something to protect yourself in the meantime, you may want to consider some sort of personal protection. A taser is actually legal, and unlike pepper spray, works even if your attacker’s face is covered. One of my clients purchased the C2 version and thinks it’s great. We’re hoping to get them to offer our blog readers a discount – but we haven’t heard confirmation from them yet.
But even if you know how to protect yourself, remember, nothing beats common sense and listening to your instincts.
San Francisco may be the best place on earth to live, but even in a typically safe neighborhood like Nob Hill, where this incident occurred – you need to be aware that there are bad people out there and be ready to protect yourself. And if that means screaming “HELP” or even screaming “FIRE”, then you do it. And give up your stuff – it’s NOT worth your life.