I am the survivor of a violent crime.
This life-changing event occurred about 10 years ago, long before my modeling days. The lessons I have learned from it, and about myself since, will stay with me for the rest of my life.
One of the most important mantras that I have repeated to myself over the last 10 years is 'be prepared'. I remind myself that I am not immune to another attack just because I was attacked once already.
Actually, my current line of work and all of the travel that is involved makes me more vulnerable to some sort of violent incident happening again but the next time it does happen, I will not be taken by surprise.
I've already upped my situational awareness game. That means that I pay attention to who and what is around me, at all times. In restaurants, walking to my car, while shopping for groceries. I am not paranoid, just aware.
I walk with my head up, making eye contact with people, sometimes I even talk to myself - out loud. Weird, right? Wrong! Not weird. Smart :). If you are already bringing attention to yourself, an attacker will be less likely to target you.
I ask my co-workers and colleagues to walk me to my car, if I feel unsafe. I've never been turned down! There is safety in numbers, this is so true.
I look behind myself. If I pass someone on the street and get a strange feeling in my gut, I turn around and look at them and at what's behind me. I used to be so worried that people would be offended that I immediately turn around after they pass me but I don't give that a second thought anymore. It's necessary. Look behind yourself. Make eye contact. Walk with confidence.
A while ago, my mom bought me a Safe Personal Alarm. This small device hooks onto your bag or belt loops and works like a grenade. When the pin is removed it emits a seriously-loud noise meant to distract an attacker and draw attention to the situation. I hope to never have to use this device but always have it with me in case I need to.
I didn't have any of these things when I was attacked. I was vulnerable, naive and very much lucky that I fought and did not give up. It's a terrible story that I will share one day.
Know where you are and who is around you. Be safe out there.
Did you read about those girls who thwarted an attempted kidnapper by throwing their coffee at him and using what they were taught about self defense when he tried to abduct one of them? These girls acted fast and were quick on their feet. My heros. Watch that story here.