I recently came across this story on torontosun.com and thought important to share with the readers of this blog. It demonstrates how quickly violence can happen with little warning, but almost always with some warning. I urge everyone to read the details and then ask themselves how they might handle a scenario like this. I will offer some thoughts at the end of the article. So please go to this link, then comeback here to read my thoughts.
First of all I feel terrible for this poor woman who was just being a good resident showing concern for the safety of anyone who might have been in the building or in the neighbourhood. I do not know all the details, but I would like to offer some thoughts that might offer strategies or options in the event that someone else is in a similar situation. Again, this is not to question what she did, but rather to give some general advice based on different variables that could come into play.
She was aware of her surroundings which is excellent because she noticed his erratic behaviour which caused her concern. She attempted to get in the building quickly before he was able to, but he managed catch up before the door shut and locked behind her. Next she poliltey asked him if he was a resident to which his immediate response was rude which is very telling as to whether a person has good or bad intent.
As far as approaching the building while your intuition tells you something is not right, there are a few options. One option being to try and get into the building quickly where you would feel safer once the door locks behind you, but that depends on you being aware to how close the person is behind you. There may be some who would prefer to stay outside of the building where there might people. And then some may choose to confront the person outside by yelling loudly in an effort to draw attention thus scaring the person off, but this does not guarantee they will leave. Some attackers are very brazen with little concern about being caught. Some people may think to dial 911, but I wrote an article today about dialling 911 and the challenges of doing so. You can check that out by going here: safeselfdefense.link/4c35
When he rushed up behind her to get in the building, she was likely very close to him when she asked him if he lived there. Particularly with the rude way he answered her, I would encourage one to get some distance between you and them if at all possible, but I understand it all happens so quickly and without education on proximity and verbal dialog in a potentially violent scenario, it might be hard to make that decision so quickly which is evident here by his swift attack on her with little warning. Also be careful of building with revolving doors as it gives the attacker an opportunity to trap you in a close quarter location. Once you recognize signs of potential violence or just odd behaviour as early as possible you give yourself more chance to deal effectively with the person.
And then if you do enter the building and they gain entrance, but have not attacked you, how do you handles things if they are lingering or wanting to get on the elevator with you? Do not get on the elevator as this puts you in an isolated location which is preferable to attackers. Do you know where the phone or intercom is to contact security in the building, if there is any security? Definitely do not go to your apartment, but do stay somewhere there may be people. Some may think to run to the stairs to attempt to get away, but similar to the elevator, the stairs are even more isolated.
Are you skilled at verbal defusion if they approach you. The verbal defusion would not stop a guy like in this clip, but may allow you some time to prepare yourself possibly avoiding a blitz attack as he did.
If by chance the person does get a hold of you and attempts to take you to your apartment or outside the building to a secondary location threatening to harm you if you do not do what they say, DO NOT DO WHAT THEY SAY. Do your best to attract attention by knocking on other doors if you are in a hall, or yell, scream, or attack the attacker. Secondary isolated locations are where they find the bodies. Often attackers use the word promise, promising to not harm you if you comply, but the use of the word "promise" is a strategy often used by attackers. But ask yourself if someone attempting to attack or abduct you is really trustworthy.
You may notice I have offered no definite answers, just options. The purpose of this blog was to get you thinking how you might react in a similar situation.