You’re driving through a parking lot when a man flags down your car. You’re walking through a parking garage when a man approaches you and asks for help.
What do you do in situations like these?
You DON’T stop your car or put down the window. Instead, roll ‘em up, make sure your doors are locked and get out of there. If you’re on foot, keep moving, toward the door, toward people, toward anyone who can help you if this guy is a predator. Keep him in your peripheral vision and look for a possible conspirator.
You want to look like a hard target. (see the Hard Target Safety Tip)
Women are conditioned to be polite. We want to help others. Predators use these societal expectations against us. Ted Bundy’s favorite ploy was to wear an arm sling or cast and ask women for help carrying his books or packages. He was handsome, educated and intelligent. He also raped and murdered at least three dozen women.
If you really think the person needs help, as soon as you get to a safe place, call 911, mall security or other appropriate authority and let them provide assistance. Be prepared. Have the number for office/building/campus security programmed into the speed dial on your phone. Make sure you have a cell phone and keep it charged. If you’re a college student, learn the layout of the campus so you know which direction to run should you need to find people. Think about these types of scenarios. The worst time to make a good decision is under duress.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever help other people, but you need to be smart about these situations. The most important weapon you have at your disposal is your brain.