You are 24 years old.
You are an attractive woman.
It’s Friday night and you’ve had a stressful week at work.
You decide to meet some co-workers at a nearby bar to have “just a few” before you drive home. Before you know it, you realize you’ve had more than “just a few” and you’re in no condition to drive safely home. So you make the wise decision to call one of those new companies to pick you up and take you home. You make the call. So far so good.
Your driver arrives. You enter his car and give him your home address. You’re on your way, and feeling safe and relaxed. Due to your impairment, you do not immediately realize that the driver has pulled onto a dark street and stopped his car. Then the unimaginable happens. He assaults you. Your life changes forever.
Recently, horrific events like this have occurred across our country at alarming rates. People ask: Is this increase in crime sparked by the growing popularity of several new transportation companies who provide alternatives to the long-established taxi services? Who knows for sure? But what do you do when more and more people are enduring assaults when they reach out to hire a safe ride home?
Many law enforcement agencies have warned and educating to help educate citizens with the goal of preventing assaults. Here are a few of those warnings:
- Photo. Take a photograph of the license plate of the cab or car you hire before you climb aboard.
- Don’t ignore your feelings. If a place or person makes you feel uneasy—leave. Don’t let anyone convince you to stay if your instincts are telling you otherwise. Fake a phone call to a friend. Better yet call a friend, tell him/her where you are, where you’re going, when you should arrive, and send them the photograph of the car’s license plate. Make sure the driver hears you as you share all of this information to your friend…especially that you are texting/e-mailing the car’s license plate number.
- Down load an “app.” For example, the app “find a friend” uses GPS to show where you are in relation to your “friend.” Use it. Make sure the app updates as you travel.
- Act confidently and be focused…as best as you can. Sexual predators hunt for the unsuspecting and vulnerable. Remember, you are an attractive woman who has had more than “just a few.” Chances are that the driver will quickly recognize your condition…that you are unsuspecting of, and vulnerable to, his assault plan. React quickly. Fight back or escape from the car. You are far more likely to get assaulted if you go with the predator than if you fight or run away. Scream for help. Throw a rock through a store window. Bring attention to this dangerous situation. Use the element of surprise. And, if possible, run to a safe place and call the police.
- Your right to fight. It is important to understand that you can and should defend yourself physically. You have the right to do so, even if the attacker is only threatening you. Many women worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back. Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Remember, though, to use the element of surprise to your advantage–strike quickly, and mean business. Carry pepper spray. You may only get one chance.
After all, you are an attractive 24 year old woman who wants nothing more but to wind down from a stressful week…and be driven safely home. That’s not too much to ask.
Mark A. Alexander
5080 Spectrum Suite 850
Addison, Texas 75001