Each time we conduct one of our workshops we hear stories from our participants. Sometimes they share them with the group and other times they wait until everyone has left. It can be hard to listen to some of the stories but the women want someone to talk to and they want us to tell their stories so other women can learn from it. What’s interesting is on at least three occasions I have heard a very similar story that I want to share with you. All of them had a “feeling”.
Busy women in grocery stores can be perceived as easy targets. They may be preoccupied with their list, coupons, sale prices, and getting home to the family. They move quickly throughout the store and on to the next project but with all this going on they also can be very intuitive.
In each of the stories told the women felt uncomfortable as if they were being watched or followed. As it turns out they were right! They were being targeted in the store by not just one person, but two. One person was walking around pretending to shop while watching the potential victim and the other was waiting just outside the store or in a separate location in the store. The first person describes them, makes sure they are alone and an easy target and the second person waiting for the right time to attack.
The most recent story is of an older woman I will call Elaine who was walking out to her car. Elaine was uncomfortable, feeling as if someone was watching her and wanted to follow her instincts. Elaine’s car was a hatchback (opening in the rear) and she felt vulnerable leaning over to put her groceries in leaving her back exposed, not being able to see who was approaching. Instead she opened her passenger door and put her items inside the car while keeping the suspicious person in her sight. There were two empty parking spaces separating Elaine from the man who was making her uncomfortable. Once secure in her car Elaine watched the person sitting in his car motion to another who was just a few parking spaces away. The hand motion was a slicing wave past the neck indicating Elaine wasn’t the right person. Apparently they felt she was too alert and was aware something was wrong. She trusted her instincts and she was right!
We have heard many other stories from women where the outcome was life changing and have said “If only I followed my instincts”. Fortunately the grocery store situations ended without harm. The women were alert, aware of their surroundings and paid attention to the uneasy feelings they were experiencing. These incidents highlighted the need to know more about personal safety and they all attended one of our Simple Self Defense for Women workshops. As a result they now feel more empowered if a situation like that were to happen again and have also taken our advice to carry pepper spray as part of the program.
I also want to point out that don’t always assume that the “bad people” are always men. It could be a couple or even other women. In most cases a woman isn’t as suspicious if another woman approaches them with a question or appears to be in need.
Women have great instincts but we can sometimes be too nice and don’t want to be rude. When your personal safety is at risk we want you to learn from the grocery store incidents.
Trust and follow your instincts, it could save your life!