What to Do if Accosted on Street and Dragged by a Man

The video of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, 22, being grabbed on a street corner and forced along a sidewalk to her assailant’s car gripped the nation, bringing more attention than ever to how easy it seems for an unarmed man to abduct a woman.

1SDThere are things a woman can do to help prevent such a situation, as well as break free and bolt to safety before the assailant can get her into his car.

  • Sometimes, the abduction seemingly occurs in a microsecond when caught on video. But prior to what we see, there’s been an exchange of communication. Body language accounts for 55 percent of communication: gait, posture, eye contact, facial expression.
  • Thirty-five percent of communication is vocal. Yelling and screaming like an insane angry person is a lot more offensice than cryting and begging like a week person. Many self-defense programs for women instruct them that one of the first things they should do is let out a primal vocal directive to the suspicious man following them, such as “GET LOST!, STOP, NO or even yell PROFANITIES.
    While walking alone at night (or even during the day), be alert to way beyond your personal space, extending your alertness at least one block out in all directions.
  • Never walk close to vans.
  • Have a weapon in your hand at all times. This can be pepper spray (yes, it works) or a huge mock metal key that’s part of your key ring.
  • Using the typical smaller keys to your car or house may not work; they can break.
  • Carry loose single-dollar bills in a decoy pocket. If someone demands your money, pull it out and toss it, then run while the mugger is distracted by the money.
  • If a mugger wants your purse or wallet, toss it, then run. Don’t hand it to them because they could then grab your arm.
  • Be tactical if the assailant grabs you. Though this may seem like an unrealistic way to handle an assault, it’s your only chance unless you’re a lot physically stronger, and even then, a much stronger victim needs to be tactical.
  • Gouge the attacker’s eyes out. This really works. Rather than try to out-muscle him or break away from his strong hold, go for his eyes. The eyes of a 220 pound thug are just as fragile as the eyes of an infant. If this is not possible, then become dead weight.
  • As long as you’re on your feet and those feet are moving, the assailant can transport your body to his vehicle! If you weigh 130 pounds, even 105 pounds, and become willfully paralyzed, your assailant will be forced to carry all of this weight. Drop it to the ground and don’t move. Unless your assailant regularly performs powerlifting exercises at the gym with heavy weights, he’s going to have one helluva time picking you up from the ground.
  • Though it’s not all that difficult for a fit young man to scoop a 120 pound woman into his arms while she is standing, the biomechanics drastically change if the lift begins from the ground!
  • If you’re lying flat, he must either lift up all your weight from a squatted position, or, he must do it with straighter legs but a very bent-over back. This will be impossible for the average man—especially if the victim is heavy-set. Should he decide to just drag your dead weight along the ground to his car, at least this will buy you time in that it gives passers-by more time to see the abduction in progress and call 9-1-1 or directly intervene.
  • If the assailant manages to get you to his car…then it’s time to fight. Grab his groin and squeeze. It’s right there. If he has a cup (he probably won’t), then go for the eyes. Women have been known to escape their attackers. They just don’t make the news very much.
  • Learn self-defense and fighting skills. Never underestimate what a well-trained woman can do to the average or even not-so-average man.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.