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Using Avoidance To Stay Safe At Both Our Homes

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When you hear the word “home,” what comes to mind? Do you see a big house with an expansive porch, a couple of rocking chairs, and a welcoming walkway? Do you picture a little cottage or an apartment in the city? 

For many of us, our minds go back to childhood. We think of warmth, love, the smell of fresh bread, and open arms after a long day of school. Or we hear that word, and immediately flashes of anger and chaos spring to mind, where we ran and hid in our room. 

I suspect the majority of us have mixed emotions when it comes to that word. But what we wanted, and maybe didn’t get, was a refuge. We wanted to go home and not have to worry about anything. We still want that; we want our home to protect us. We want to know we’re in a place where we can feel safe, body and mind. We want “home” to be a peaceful place. And deep down, we want to have that peace in our hearts, reflected in the home around us.

There are many quotes about home out there. Here are just a handful:

“Home is where the heart is.”

“There’s no place like home.”

“Home sweet home.”

“Seek home for rest, for home is best.”

“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.”

Do you see the trend here? Home is supposed to be our safest place. Our happy place. A literal and figurative shelter. Isn’t that what you want, too?

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We want to think our homes are already safe by definition, but unless we take measures to make sure it really is safe, we could become yet another home invasion statistic. Or our bodies violated in some way. So what are some safety measures we can employ so we can avoid crime under the very roofs meant to protect us? And in the bodies made to house our souls?

Let’s talk about that.

Two Houses – And Two People – Which Will The Perp Choose?

Picture with me two houses and two people on a street in a typical middle-class neighborhood. The house on the left has a lot of big windows, which are often left open and unlocked. Maggie,  who lives there, likes to display her high-end art pieces where they can be seen through any window. Thick shrubbery partially obscures many of the windows. 

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She often forgets to lock her front door, and her rear sliding glass door’s locking mechanism is broken. She keeps forgetting to replace it and doesn’t think it’s that important anyway. Why should she worry about home invasions? It’s a safe neighborhood. 

When she travels, she just lets the mail accumulate in the mailbox, the newspapers piling up on the welcome mat. When she goes out on the town, she often goes alone or maybe with one or two friends and loves to wear her expensive jewelry, tight short skirts, and stiletto heels. 

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Carol is a former police officer from Philadelphia. When she bought the house on the right, she immediately installed a set of bars on her ground-level windows and got her buddy to install a security system. She installed motion-sensing lights next, which come on as soon as anybody starts walking up the walkway. Her German shepherd, Sarge, barks anytime anybody steps onto the property until Carol calls him off. She recently installed some cameras outside her house. 

Carol runs two to three miles four to five days a week. She lifts weights on the other days and often runs through the neighborhood with her dog. She goes out with friends into the city from time to time, always wearing comfortably fitting clothes, and her dress shoes are low-heeled with good traction.

Now picture a thief standing on the street, eyeing each house. And eyeing each person. Which will they choose? Why? The answer’s obvious, considering the more obstacles a criminal has to contend with, the less they’re going to choose the house on the right. And the lady who lives there. They want to easily get in, steal stuff, and get out. They want easy targets to strike or otherwise overcome so they can dominate, steal their stuff and get away.

They want to avoid the hassle. They want to avoid a fight. So our response? Throw as many obstacles in the attacker’s path as we can, both in our homes and in how we carry and dress our bodies.

What Can We Do?

Now we don’t have to go all the way to bars on the windows and a German shepherd, but what can we do to make our homes safer? And our bodies?

  • Lock all ground-level windows at night and when not at home.
  • Keep your valuables out of sight or at least minimize their view from outside the house.
  • Wear cheaper jewelry and avoid revealing or tight clothes when out.
  • Wear shoes you could run in if you need to.
  • Go out with at least one person, especially at night.
  • Install a deadbolt and possibly a chain lock, and make sure they’re locked when you’re not using the door, when you leave the house, and before you go to bed. 
  • Install security cameras and/or motion-activated lights.

What other ideas do you have? How can you make your home and body really bad targets?

As you ponder your response, remember: the goal is to make the perp want to avoid your house and move on. And to make them want to avoid you and move on.

A Brief Note If It’s Too Late For Avoidance

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What if the attacker gets into your house? What if he’s drawn his weapon? You still have a choice, and that choice is to comply and strategize. Ultimately, the foe will be defeated as long as you remember you have options and can emerge victorious no matter what. The attacker will open himself up to a counter-attack or an opportunity for you to flee at some point, so it’s up to you to be watching and ready. Here’s a saying worth pondering in that vein:

“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity for defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.”

Sun Tzu, “Art of War”

How We Train Protection Through Avoidance

Perhaps the most fundamental element of any self-defense program is training the mind. We train the concept that our body is our home and worth protecting. We use various means to that end so every student has a solid foundation of self-worth. We recognize all the punching and evasion skills don’t mean a thing if a person doesn’t care about herself. She may just give in when an attacker advances. And that’s the opposite of what we want. So we lay the self-worth foundation early on.

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We layer on lessons on the how of scanning and reading people and situations. For example, what are the normal sounds and smells and overall vibe of your house? If you smell smoke when you don’t have a fire in the woodstove, your spidey senses will tingle, and you’ll investigate to see what’s going on. If you sense something’s off, don’t shrug it off. Find out what’s going on, and you’ll be able to act from there.

In protecting the house your soul lives in, if a stranger introduces themselves to you and reaches out to shake your hand, you’ll say some version of  “No, thank you.”  You’ll avoid getting pulled into a verbal or physical altercation by quickly creating space between you and the other person. Even if the person’s harmless, it’s better to be wrong and safe than to doubt your gut instincts and be maimed in body or mind. Or worse.

We train on the physical and mental levels, learning how to sense a difference in the room and identify it. We learn evasion techniques and how to deflect blows as well as counter-strike if it comes to that. Over time avoiding, evading our opponent, and getting away as quickly as possible becomes our natural mode instead of flight, fight or freeze (or fawn). 

We have all kinds of ways to do this and curate each lesson with these core principles in mind. You’ll love it.

What’s Your Response?

It’s sobering to realize our homes may not be as safe as they could be. And that we might not know how to protect our bodies if someone attacked us. Sometimes the reality of our inherently unsafe world can be disheartening. But you can do something to change it. You can decide to accept reality as it is, not as you wish it were. And you can decide to do your best to avoid becoming a statistic by learning how to defend yourself.

You can decide to fight back by getting skills to protect both your body and your living space. And at Tigress’ Roar, we’re here every step of the way to help you get there.  

Our door is open, and you’re welcome here.

Join us.


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