Personal Safety Advice: The Modern Blindness That Could Get You Hurt

Barbara MacLean

This website is not a back water of the internet, it is a side stream that runs onto a backwater. So why should I try and influence the big names of journalism when it comes to personal safety? I’m not trying to is the quick answer.

I hope that maybe just one person might see this and maybe, just maybe, they make another choice in the future. Possibly they will wait for friends before leaving a club or they might take an Uber rather than walk home through a darkened park.

Barbara MacLean who travelled alone to a party after having an argument with her boyfriend. Her murder is still unsolved.

The Right Of People To Walk When And Where They Like

Everyone has the moral and ethical right to go wherever they want. I have no argument with that. My issue is having dealt with many mad and bad men…They don’t care about your rights. So when I see demands for action that changes society I know that the calls will fall on many deaf ears. The ones with the deaf ears are the dangerous ones, they are the very people who commit awful crimes against women and men. They think you are stupid and deserve their violence. They take any resistance personally, you have no rights in their eyes.

Changing The Toxic Culture Of Men

This has some validity as a goal. Women are on occasion subject to cat calls and sexually suggestive approaches while out alone. I doubt the diehard activists would appreciate that this sort of behaviour is frowned upon by many men. I recall coming out of a railway station 30 years ago and beginning my walk home. Ahead of me was a young woman who was going my way. I crossed over so I did not walk behind her at a gradual pace. I was brought up that way and as a copper I saw the likely hood that I would have made her nervous.

There are loads of us that would do this. There are then lots of men that would walk on the same side of the road, but give a woman a wide pass. There are men who would try and talk to her and there are those that might attack her.

I read an article that took upon itself to educate men as to how to be. It was in the Metro, I have just been looking for it and cannot find it. To summarise it was telling men to do what I did above. It tells men not to comment on how a woman looks and gives an example:

If you are out running and a woman is out running cross over to show her you have no bad intentions. Well you are showing your intentions…you are in running gear while out running. The article is full of patronising advice. When sitting in a pub and a friend uses disrespectful language about a woman, you should call your friend out on it. Educate him about sexualising women. The specifics of the advice were frankly ridiculous because the essence was that once male attitudes are dealt with…Women will be safe and secure and free.

First, anyone who has had the privilege of knowing lots of women knows that they will sexualise men as much as the other way around. The language they can use and the graphic descriptions they give are the equal of men’s. If you suggest that somehow you are going to change that culture in men you would be daft enough to think you could change that in women. The whole world population exists because at some point everyone has sexualised a partner.

Part of the article I agree with. Don’t harass women. This happens a lot. A car will slow to a crawl while two men try and banter with a girl walking alone. They know that probably will frighten her. They are ripe for re educating. Sexual cat calling as a woman walks down the street is not good. I wish them luck with that attempt to change culture. The point I make though is the real change they are after is not going to happen. A rapist, a flasher, an up skirt moron or a Tube train groper is not going to listen.

Remembering the Principles Of Protecting The Target.

If you have something valuable you protect it. If it is cash you lock it away or guard it. If you move it you plan that move. As flesh and blood we are very well aware of the damage and injury we can sustain. When travelling in cars, for example, we put on seat belts and we stop at red traffic lights.

Catherine Graham was murdered after calling her mother. She had been selling books door to door. She told her mother a man was watching her.

We might well travel for all our lives without an accident, we might be able to run dozens of red lights and not crash. The sensible course though, the one that maximises our likely hood of staying safe, is to put the belt on and stop on the red light.

I watched a man and a dog the other day. I was with my critters a bit of a way off. He watched as his dog crapped on the grass and then off they walked. I have been using biodegradable bags to collect my dog’s mess for years and years. The culture of dog ownership changed decades ago, from just letting your dog mess and walk away to picking it up. It changed as society decided that it wanted cleaner pavements and parks. So what happened about this guy?

He is what happens and what will happen to your attempt to get all men to act in some total collective way regarding your personal wellbeing and peace of mind. Most will, you might get a huge percentage to follow the line. Then you will have the exceptions. Those exceptions will include some cat calling guys and some sleazy stalker types. You will never get a societal change that stops a man who would otherwise attack a woman.

The process of staying safe or keeping a valuable item safe is called target hardening. Target hardening is what I do when passing through certain parts of the world. I am big and used to a certain level of threat but I watch out for myself in certain circumstances. I should have the right to leave my car unlocked, I should have the right to leave my house with the door open. I should have a lot of rights, but I still use awareness and locks.

Groups of people are safer than if you are alone. Well lit streets are safer than darkened alleys, licenced taxi cabs are safer than late night buses. A ride from someone you know is better than a long walk through dim city streets. That will never change. It has always been the way and anyone who tells you different is either a liar or more likely a fool.

Curfews For Men

The push for these first surfaced in the UK when the Yorkshire Ripper was killing women during the 1970s. The idea resurfaced following the rape and murder of Sarah Everard in 2021.

The idea is that if men went to work and then stayed in from 6pm to 6am then women would be safe. This is the sort of advice that illustrates a lack of understanding about crime and the people who commit it. I won’t even delve into the human rights issues of this plan. I won’t even go through the rapes and murders of people ( men too) that occur during the day. I’ll just point out one thing.

Those that rape and kill focus on doing just that. No curfew would stop them. They would find an excuse to be out, they would don a dress, they would be out and they would do what they do. If not that they would simply do it during the day. The main reason I mention this is the crazy view that campaigners have. Their version of the world is not based in any sort of reality. They promote magic fantasy confidence in young women. In addition, they do not even speak for the majority of women.

People like mixed gender pubs and nightclubs. I hate to say it and shatter their crazy illusions but all genders and orientations like hook ups, flirting and dancing.

So What Can You Do?

I agree we could look at stiffening some sentencing. Indecent exposure, which plays a part in many offenders’ past, should be treated as way more serious than it is. I’m all for hard time, long sentencing. I am all for never taking a risk on allowing an offender an inch of room to reoffend.

The issue is the law is soft granted. There is also another problem. Killers and rapists do sometimes start at the very serious stuff before coming much to societies attention. The way I see it, backed by years of experience, is you are an individual.

Like me you might well do stuff that you know is risky. Sometimes the risk gives a certain thrill. Take those chances, it is often what life is about. What I am talking about here is when there is no thrill to it.

Amy Fitzpatrick was a girl who had a short way to walk home one evening. She disappeared. She was 15. The streets were dark and quiet. I could name dozens. Get a cab if you are in that situation or better yet get a lift from those you trust. She was at a friend’s house. If you have no lift and it is late, stay the night.

When out running, run early evening or anytime rather than late at night. Stay on busy streets rather than country footpaths. If running on rural routes go in company with others.

If you go to meet someone and they are not there. If it is night time or in an isolated location like a quiet railway station don’t walk a mile to a friend’s place or home. Stay in the light and make a call to get a lift. If you do walk pick the brightest route. Maybe call ahead and ask someone from the household to walk towards you thereby limiting the time you are alone.

Use your instincts. If they say the figure ahead is suspicious then cross over or better yet turn back to a lit area and come up with another plan. Ignoring instincts has got more people hurt and killed than anything in our modern times.

Man or woman if you are vulnerable walk your dog on town streets not off in the wilds. You will find I have gone into the murders of dog walkers a lot on here. Your dog is unlikely to save you, but you might be temped to have a false sense of security from your dog being there.

If you are blind dating or taking some thrill risk don’t just tell a girlfriend where you are going. Tell the blind date your girlfriend knows. Make sure they are aware you have a plan. Make a joke of it by all means but do it.

Stay in groups in nightclubs and make sure all leave or none leave. If someone is going home early then see them into a cab and tell the driver you are phoning their destination. Make it a societal change to watch out for each other in a proactive way. Now that could be a cultural change that would work.

Watch the amount of intoxicants you take in. If I was dead drunk I would be an easy target in a fight. It is as simple as that. I am not making a moral ‘victim shaming’ point. It is a victim creating reality. If you are having to make your way anywhere in a dodgy situation then stay sober.

If you are meeting someone you don’t want others to know about then consider telling one person. It happens, you could be in one relationship but seeing someone else. You might be single yet have kids and a judgemental mother. The list is endless. What I suggest you need is for this ‘secret person’ to believe that if they hurt you they will be found out. I go into this in more detail in an article. Click here.

The type of dirtbag that will hurt you are cowards. They want easy targets. They can be fast and very violent. It takes seconds to incapacitate a weaker person. Their callousness and cruelty is a reality. I value you, you should value you. We sensibly protect valuables from harm.

For more ideas and information try The Suzy Lamplugh Trust as a first point of reference.  Ms Lamplugh disappeared in 1986 in London. She has never been found. The trust set up in her name is a centre of excellence for personal safety.

Finally, I run this website because too many people have been killed without the killers ever seeing justice. Most are female victims. I tend not to write about men who die while fighting or illegally doing things. One solved case is, if I am not mistaken, this country’s worst rapist. He preyed on men.

In certain circumstances we are all vulnerable. When those circumstances present themselves then plan a course of action based on the worst thing that could happen.

Vigils are genuine outpourings of sadness and respect. The thing is they have never prevented a single attack. Best intentions aimed at society are laudable and might have a small effect but they won’t change your personal threat level. Only you can do that. It is that way and will always be that way.

Take Care