The following story is from the mother & retired teacher who used to offer our SAFE International high school violence prevention and self-defence program to her students. When she and her daughter heard of our upcoming release of “The Parental SAFEGUARD Plan…To Achieving Peace of Mind”, they gave me their blessing to share this story. Once you read this story, it will be obvious why they see the importance of this training for all teens, particularly those leaving home for college or university.
My daughter took your program when she was a grade 9 student many years ago. Five years later, after graduating from high school, she and a friend were in Ottawa, ON, for a day of shopping. At approximately 3 pm they were headed back to their vehicle in the parking lot of a shopping mall.
A man, hiding behind a pillar, surprised the girls, and with a knife in his hand, he demanded the girls get into the van, threatening to harm them if they made a sound. My daughter ran and got into the driver’s seat of the van and began yelling and honking the horn while her friend was on the other side of the man with the guy holding the knife.
The man, out of fear of being caught, fled. We quickly decided to report the incident to the police. The girls offered independent descriptions of the attacker. The police said the description was very similar to an attack occurring soon after this. He approached another woman at a different mall who was putting her baby in the backseat of her car. As she was putting her baby in the backseat, he attempted to force her into the car.
A couple of onlookers saw the situation, chased him, caught him, and restrained him until the police arrived.
The police also informed us the man had recently been released from prison for assaults previously committed.
Our daughter told us that even though she had not taken your course in over four years, she still remembered your advice to yell and attract attention. She knew it was her first and better option than trying to defend against a knife. In addition, one interesting comment was she said your use of humour in teaching the girls was the key to her ability to remember what to do.
Thanks – J O’Brien
Chris Roberts – I share this story as it illustrates that the key to violence prevention begins before it ever gets physical. In a story like this, if the man had been able to kidnap the girls and take them to a secondary location, the results may have been much more tragic.
Some situations may require a physical defence, but recognizing and avoiding violence should always be prioritized in any credible self-defence and violence prevention program.
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