Please take note, this article is meant for information, awareness and tips on how we may prevent cases like this, and caters to men, women, children and senior citizens. We have no intentions of prejudicing anyone.
We have read in the news that there are many cases where people are being assaulted physically (or non-physically) by snatch thieves and causing injuries or death, robbery, road rage, domestic (spouses or workers) violence and sexual assault. Any one of us can be a victim anytime, anywhere and many of these assaults happen in our home, offices or public places we often go to. Moreover, many of these cases or assaults are caused by someone we know or close to us: friends, family, colleagues, and/or classmates.
1. What Is An Assault?
Image by Jeet Kune Do Malaysia
It’s best to keep ourselves vigilant and alert at all times, never ever think that such cases will not happen to yourself, or thinking that these cases only happen to ladies. Eventually men, senior citizens and sometimes children faced the same situation. Here are few signs of both physical and non-physical assaults, which is essential for you to recognise as you never know if you manage to help someone or yourself one day.
- Provocation – Verbal treats or insults, and death treats.
- Intimidation – Pushing, shoving, stealing and/or throwing objects.
- Harassment – Un-welcome advancements, verbal assaults and treats, sexual assaults, and stalking.
- Assaults – Fights, struggles, and attacks using with or without a weapon.
- Causing injuries – Bites, bruises, dislocation, fractures and disfigurement.
- Forcefulness – Using a weapon to force, using physical force or threats by force.
- Death – Being force to commit suicide, or murdered.
Usually when we are faced with these situations, many of us will panic, and unsure of how or when to react, and what to do next. It’s difficult but try to remain calm as this will not agitate or annoy the attacker(s) further to cause any injuries. As a victim, going through any form of assault is a traumatic experience and ordeal whether its physically or non-physical.
2. How To Prevent From Being Assaulted
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However, there are ways to prevent an assault from taking place. As we have shared earlier, it’s good to keep oneself vigilant and be alert at all times! To avoid being in any of the situation above, we must educate ourselves with certain safety precaution methods. As the saying goes,
prevention precaution is better than cure.
- Be alert of your surroundings – Avoid fumbling for your car or door keys, talking on the phone or using your devices. Whether you are in a car park, open parking or even your own home, attacker(s) like to go for an easy ‘target’ and will strike when you let your guard down.
- Survey and ‘study’ your surroundings – If you are in a car park, a mall, office or even at home, know where is the next exit or place that you may run for safety. Take a picture of your car park with the indication of which level, zone and number. This will make things easier for the security guard to locate your car and assist you should there be anything.
- Get in, lock and drive – Avoid doing other things once you are in your car, as this will attract the attacker(s) to make a move. If you are doing your groceries shopping alone, get a security guard to assist or accompany you.
- Parking – Most malls have ‘Ladies only car park‘. As for men, it’s LADIES only car park! Best to park there is you are alone, if not avoid parking at dark or dim areas, in between pillars or next to large vehicles. These will block and obstruct people from noticing what is happening.
- Do not be too consistent – Never park at the same sport, using the same route, or leaving at the same time. Attacker(s) may track and record your movement easily.
- If you are being tailgated or followed – Do not panic and send or call for help. Never stop, no matter what, even if they bump into you! Drive to the nearest police station, and not back home. Should you reach your home, drive along to distract them from knowing your actual home. Stay on the main roads where it’s busy if possible and go to a public place.
- Always keep your bags or belongings at the bottom of your car seat – This is to avoid snatch thefts, break-ins and robbery.
- Dashcam – Install a dashcam to record the whole incident.
- Install SOS apps on your mobile or digital devices – This will send out your distress call to relevant parties such as police, family members, friends, fire brigade and more. Apart from calling for help, these apps may give out your current location those who you’ve sent the SOS message to.
Using public transport and in public places
- Be alert of your surroundings – Avoid fumbling for your door keys or travel pass, talking on the phone, using your digital gadgets or listening to music.
- Use the ladies coach – Our local train system have coaches for ladies only, and again for the men: it’s only for LADIES!
- If you are being stalked – Walk to the nearest police or security personnel, get into the nearest store or restaurant and ask for help. Remain in your current location till help arrives, even if your stalker has left. Avoid going to places like car parks, lift, and washrooms alone as you can be cornered.
- Keep your bag close to your body, hug them or sling to the front and hang on to it – This will deter snatch theft.
- Your timing – Try to go about your daily routine at a different time to avoid being tracked.
- During party/events – Never leave your drinks unattended. Inform your friends or family where you are going and what time you will be back. This way, they may check on you if you do not return within the time frame.
- Your accessories – Don’t over-accessorise to attract unwanted attention. Attacker(s) may grab your scarf, bag and/or jewellery easily.
- Your hair – Attacker would go after a person with long hair, in a pony tail or a bun as it’s easy to grab. However, you DO NOT have to cut your hair short to avoid it, just take note on your surroundings and be extra vigilant.
- Weapon – Have a pepper spray, or an alarm to keep your self from trouble and to buy sometime so you may run away.
Children and senior citizens
- Educate them – Teach them on what are the telltale signs of an assault and explain few scenarios so they are able to understand.
- Train them – Explain to them what they need to do while in school, tuition centres, day care centres, at home care centres, in public places and even at home.
- Valuables – Never leave them with anything that’s valuable as this might attract un-wanted attention.
- Inform – Always inform someone where they are going, whom they are meeting up with and what time to expect them back at a certain place.
3. Defending Yourself From Assault: Snatch Theft, Attempt Rape, Sexual Harassment And Physical Abuse
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If you encounter any physical assault situation, try to remain calm. There are ways for you to defend and saving yourself in those situations such as snatch theft, sexual harassment or attempt rape and physical abuse. However, always look at the scenario because there are times that it’s not worth risking your life. For example, if the attacker(s) is carrying a weapon and ask for your valuables , just give in and let them have it.
Malaysia is prone to snatch thefts, though the statistics have dropped compared year 2015 to 2014 as reported by the media. There are few types of snatch theft situations and here are the steps you may take:
- If you are walking on a busy street and feel your bag is being pulled back, turn around hit the attacker on the face or groin area, elbow against attacker’s palm or hand and shake hard to free yourself and run.
- If the attacker(s) are riding a motorcycle run further inside the walkway or into a store (if any). Bending down is another good way to avoid it, but if you are alert enough. But, if they ever caught your bag just let it go and save yourself from injuries.
- Just let go of your belongings if the attacker is carrying any weapon(s).
Here a video on how to escape a snatch theft scenario:
Attempt rape, sexual harassment or physical abuse
Rape, sexual harassment and physical abuse are such sensitive and taboo topics within society. However, these crimes are getting serious and anyone can be a victim. Almost all cases of attempt rape or physical abuse are carried out by someone we know: a colleague, our spouses or family members, and any of our friends. Below are few moves which you should be aware of and remember when trying to escape an attempted rape or physical abuse situation.
- If you are grabbed at the neck or being choked from the front – tilt your head down and push your shoulders together towards your neck as much as possible (this is to give you enough as much oxygen as possible). Then, grab the attacker’s wrist with one hand, grad his/her’s two fingers and push back to break them. Another way, is (repeat the head and shoulders part), push away the wrist hard and hit his/her’s face or chin with your elbow.
- Should your attacker uses a weapon like a belt to choke your neck – repeat the same head and shoulders movement, try to turn around as much as possible and hit your attacker’s face as hard as possible to free yourself.
- If an attacker is trying to hit you – put both hands to your chest (as a defense) and look into his face, every time they try to hit you, block it with your hand as if flex-on-flex-off. Never leave your eyes off the attacker.
- Should the attacker tries to push you down – hold on to your wrist hard and push your hand (between wrist to elbow) against the attacker’s neck upwards. Tilt your bum or hips back wards (as if in a squat position) so he/she cannot force you to the ground.
- If you are on the ground, there are ‘more’ ways that you may escape – one of it is to do a bridge, place both your arms on your chest and push outwards over the attacker’s arms as if you are doing a circular movement. This is to throw your attacker off so you may wrap he’she in warp and turn around so you will be sitting on them. As soon as you are on ‘top’ throw as many punches onto their face so you may have time to run away.
Here are more videos on self defense that you may be interested:
- Moves that can make you escape an attempt rape
- Self defense moves for children
- Self defense for ladies – choke from behind
- How to escape a rape situation
4. In The Eyes Of The Law
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There are things that we need to know when we are faced with an assault, especially in the law section. Know your rights on what you can or cannot during an assault or in any situation which make you feel vulnerable. Like it or not, the attacker(s) have human rights as well, so arm yourself with some knowledge and try to outsmart them. Once the attacker, knows that you will cause him/her trouble, they’ll be more than happy to leave you alone. But, if they come in a group, try to step back and avoid confrontation as much as possible.
5. Supporting A Friend Or A Victim
It’s never easy for a victim to forget and gather their confidence again after an assault. Healing takes time, and now it’s where we as a friend or public can do to make them feel comfortable. Leading an ear or a shoulder to cry on will help them to move on. Never judge or comment that it’s their fault that such incident happened, as no victim or anyone would wish for of it! Do keep these links and take note on the contacts below for reference and support:
- Women’s Aid Organisation, Malaysia
- Polis Di Raja Malaysia (Royal Malaysian Police)
- Befrienders Malaysia and Worldwide
- Men’s Advice
- National Domestic Violence