Log in

No account? Create an account
08 June 2009 @ 08:34 am
Another thought about attitude and assault  
I do not know if this is a good analogy; I kind of thought of it last night, and so I'm putting it out for discussion.

Attitude is to getting assaulted what locking your car doors is to theft.

That is, locking your doors is not going to block a determined car thief, nor will it help if the person who decides to steal your car is someone who has gained your trust (and a car key). It may help deter the casual, crime of opportunity, thief.

Similarly, an "I'm not a victim" attitude (or, in some cases, a "see-me-not" attitude) will not deter someone who is bent on committing assault, nor will it protect you from someone who has gained your trust. It may, however, help deter someone who is open to a crime of opportunity and who may prefer a person who looks like an easier target.

Again, not blaming the victim in either case.
seawasp: A wise toadseawasp on June 8th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
I see it as related to the old idea of "predators can smell fear". If your body language and behavior indicates that you're aware of your surroundings but not afraid of them, a potential assailant will -- on a gut level, if not on a conscious one -- evaluate you as being a possible target OR as a possible threat. If your behavior indicates that you're nervous or afraid of your surroundings, that you're studying those around you as though they were threats, then the potential assailant will categorize you purely as potential target. In animal terms, you're acting like a small herbivore. Behavior of "I know you're there, and I don't care" is sending the signal of either "I'm also a predator" or "yes, I'm a herbivore. Of the rhino, hippo, and elephant variety. Don't make me hurt you."

As you say, this doesn't mean that acting like a scared rabbit makes you responsible for someone assaulting you, but it does mean that you're sending signals that will make you more likely to be chosen as a target.

Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on June 8th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)

Interesting way of looking at attitude!

As you say, if someone is determined, or out of their mind so that anything moving is a target, then Attitude doesn't help. In some cases even a gun wouldn't help.
Again, not the victim's fault.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 8th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
"Interesting" is good, I think. At least I'm not coming across as a total idiot. :-)
fatcookfatcook on June 8th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have discovered that the correct attitude can and has worked wonders. I spent part of the 80's living in D.C., inside the beltway. A bright smile, a warm "hello" and a confident posture, kept me out of serious trouble more times than I can count or know about. It also shaped my opinion of what is a "bad" neighborhood. If you aren't walking by an active murder scene twice a week or drug deals every day, then it's not a "bad" neighborhood.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 8th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
It should be noted, though, as pir_anha did in my previous post, that someone who is ill or disabled or elderly may be not be able to project that "confident posture". Attitude isn't foolproof, by any means.
saoba on June 8th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Equally- if the criminal is in a particular mind set the confident posture may simply goad a desire to show you who's boss.

Not that I heard stories while working the victims hotline or anything.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 8th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Point taken, which is why I noted the "Jedi Mind Trick - these are not the droids you're looking for" attitude as an alternative.
fatcookfatcook on June 8th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know that. But I've also seen the reverse happen; where the young, able and healthy were the ones targeted. Mostly because they obliviously had money and or gave off the prey attitude.
Attitude isn't going to stop someone who is bent on violence, often, however it will help.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on June 8th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
This is a good analogy. You might also add, as noted upthread, that some thrill-thieves take a locked car as a challenge rather than deterrence. But on the whole, I think it works well.
Steffirecat on June 8th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
I think of attitude more like living in a low-crime neighborhood, where crime doesn't happen very often but if it does it's somewhat random.

If you think of it as like locking car doors, that makes it something you can consciously do at a moment's notice, and I don't think it's within everyone's reach.

I think I might give off some kind of see-me-not attitude, because people don't hassle me as a rule, but I am not doing it consciously and I don't know how to turn it off. (And it is annoying at parties where I would *like* people to talk to me.)
Arthur and Kevin's Nelloratnellorat on June 9th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
I really think it's hard to talk about this without seeming to blame the victim, which I find horrible in any number of ways--one is that much good advice DOES seem to blame the victim or CAN be used that way, but still, the advice is out there. I remember bits from police and other sources about eye contact, speed of movement, etc.--specific things that I think most people could learn.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 9th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
If you think of it as like locking car doors, that makes it something you can consciously do at a moment's notice, and I don't think it's within everyone's reach.

Huh. Actually, I think of locking doors (and, by analogy, attitude) as a trained, ingrained, automatic response, right up there with putting on the seatbelt at the beginning of the journey and setting the parking brake at the end.
Steffirecat on June 9th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
Actually, I think of locking doors (and, by analogy, attitude) as a trained, ingrained, automatic response

I'm saying that developing attitude might be more difficult than developing the habit of locking a door.

I don't know, because I don't remember training myself to have attitude.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 9th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
I kind of do remember developing both an "I see you and do not see you as a threat" and an "I'm not here, you don't see me" attitude, to be used as needed.
just the gurl you want: unalienable rightsgirlgoyle on June 9th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
a well concealed legal licensed registered handgun is the best deterrent
Janet Miles, CAP-OM: gunsjanetmiles on June 9th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
For those who can and wish to carry, I don't disagree. Not everyone is physically capable of using a handgun, though, and I for one spend a lot of my time (at work) in a place where I cannot legally carry or even possess a gun.
just the gurl you wantgirlgoyle on June 9th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
then get a stun gun or taser. Superior firepower will improve your attitude