There have been an unfortunate string of assaults in the Liverpool/Fairfield (Sydney, Australia) community areas lately. Young women were targeted, assaulted and robbed while on their way home from work. Thankfully the culprit was apprehended eventually however the question remains – how would deal with such a situation. In short – Are You Street Smart?
The term street smart here has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with awareness. These young women were attacked in a decently lit area after leaving a bus stop of an evening. In the ideal world, these types of situations would not need to happen unfortunately people can do unsavoury things during their more desperate circumstances.
So how can you be street smart?
1) Be aware of your surroundings: instead of letting the familiar surroundings wash over you every trip, take the time to memorise landmarks and surrounding key features. Once you develop this environmental awareness, you will be able to sense when something seems out of place. Instincts are what helped our ancestors survive and that fight or flight mechanism is powerfully active in all of us even today. Being aware of your surroundings also means knowing what you could use to defend yourself should the need arise. A large tree branch or a discarded pole can be very useful when swung at a wayward attacker.
2) Do not allow for distractions: if you are walking home, do not talk on the phone or listen to music. If your attention is focused elsewhere then you can become an easy target. This acts as both a warning against assailant and also a public service announcement about the use of headphones preventing you from hearing any possible on coming traffic. All your senses are important to keep you safe, any phone call or song can wait until you are in a safe environment.
3) Take self defence classes: learning self defence and martial arts is essentially like learning another language – you may never need to use it but it comes in very handy if you do. The objective is not to force fear upon you, quite the opposite. When you train in self defence the body becomes accustomed to repetition and your muscle memory will kick in subconsciously. It takes over 66 hours for a habit to form and even longer for muscle memory to develop and that is for each movement. Learning self defence can also curb the fear factor of having to face an attacker on the street. When you can remain calm, you can counteract whatever is happening to you.
In summary, to be street smart you should always be aware of your surroundings, not allow for distractions during travel and have some knowledge of self defence. Much like knowing how to swim, self defence is a key life skill that can build upon your confidence, mental fortitude and keep you safe should the situation arise.
Remember it is too late to dig a well when you are already thirsty, be preemptive and apply the three steps mentioned above to ensure you get home safely to your loved ones.