Brought to you by ISU Public Safety and the ISU Safety Committee March, 2003
Six Things to Do During a Violent Confrontation
On every campus, regardless of its size or location, there is the potential for violence. Safety is something that we can no longer take for granted. Violence does not discriminate student from staff or young from old.
Comprehensive training begins with such basics as enhancing one's awareness of possible threats and acting pro-actively to decrease the chances of becoming a victim. Awareness is more than just looking around. It is a pro-active mindset that involves educated observation and effective response.
The unfortunate truth is that in many cases of violence, there were warning signs and windows of opportunity where violence could have been averted. That's why it's important to learn what to look for and what preventive measures to take. However, even when we educate ourselves to recognize potential threats, it is usually impossible to know when violence will strike.
In order to react safely and effectively, you should receive training on basic physical techniques you can use to defend yourself and help others. You need to know what to expect and how to react. Anyone who has been involved in a physical altercation for the first time knows the actual experience is nothing like what they thought it would be.
- Keep your eyes open. As simple as this sounds, most people tend to close their eyes during physical altercations. We have to fight the urge and keep our eyes open. This is the only way we know what's happening so we can react effectively.
- Watch their hands. Hands are the most dangerous part because they can kill you the fastest. They hold guns and other weapons.
- Do something. You have to do something - yell, kick or run. The worst thing you can do is do nothing. If you let fear or the shock of the situation freeze you, you have completely wiped out any chances of your survival. Doing something doesn't always involve something physical. Whether it's talking to the aggressor, calling the police or evacuating innocent bystanders, we can always do something to affect the situation.
- Have presence of mind. It's easy to panic and get "tunnelvisioned," where you are focused only on what's in front of you. Fear, pain and exhaustion are just some of the factors that keep us from thinking clearly. When you have presence of mind, you are able to make decisions and act. You look for opportunities and routes to escape. You may even find ways to outsmart your assailant. If you stop thinking, your giving up.
- Don't turn your back to the assailant. Unless you have room enough to get a good head start and run away, do not turn your back. You are completely exposing yourself, and you can't see what the assailant is doing. You can't react and defend if you don't know what's going on.
- Keep your will to survive. Never give up. The mind is capable of defying physical boundaries. We've all heard of stories of people surviving situations that would have killed a regular person. They're not superhuman nor do they possess special abilities. They just refuse to give up.
The main thing to remember during an altercation is to do something.
Hands-on training provides for an opportunity to learn and test physical techniques in a controlled and safe environment. Actually trying out techniques is important, because there is no one technique that is guaranteed to work for everyone every time. Complicated techniques, although effective, should be avoided because they require regular practice in order to be applied correctly. The techniques should be basic and close to instinctive human reactions so they are easily retained.
An additional benefit of physical training is the opportunity for a dialogue where individual experiences can be shared. From group dialogue, innovative ideas can emerge as to how to best prepare in the future.
We can't predict when and where violence will occur, but we can prepare ourselves mentally and physically to respond effectively. As Benjamin Franklin said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
ISU Public Safety offers a Rape Aggression Defense class. For more info call 282-2515.
In general, the same types of fraud schemes that have victimized consumers and investors for many years before the proliferation of internet use are now appearing online. You may find fraud schemes in chat rooms, e-mail, message boards, or on Web sites. Types of internet fraud include identity theft and fraud, telemarketing fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage scams, investment schemes, work-at-home schemes, and many more.
Recently, ISU has been hit with what the Department of Justice calls the Nigerian Letter Scam, or variations of this fraud. For years now, businesses, learning institutions, and government departments have been receiving e-mails from senders posing as Nigerian government or business officials offering to share large sums of money.
Most letters are variations of the following:
- You receive an "urgent" business proposal "in strictest confidence" from a Nigerian or South African civil servant/businessman.
- The sender, often a member of the "contract review panel," obtained your name and profile through the Chamber of Commerce or the International Trade Commission.
- The sender recently intercepted or has been named beneficiary of the proceeds from real estate, oil products, over-invoiced contracts, cargo shipments, or other commodities, and needs a foreign partner to assist with laundering the money.
- Since their government/business position prohibits them from opening foreign bank accounts, senders ask you to deposit the sum, usually somewhere between $25-50 million, into your personal account.
- For instance, you will receive between 15-30% of the total which sits in the Central Bank of Nigeria awaiting transfer, or offshore bank account.
- To complete the transaction, they ask you to provide your bank name and address, your telephone and fax numbers, the name of your beneficiary, and, of course, your bank account numbers.
- The sender promises to forward your share within ten to fourteen working days!
Just recently, on January 15, 2003 the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia reported "Millions found in 'Syndicate' Man's Stash. A Nigerian man accused of operating in an international fraud syndicate had 31 California drivers licenses, 68 credit cards and 5 passports, all bearing different names."
Next time you receive one of those heart rending appeals from a "family member" of some deposed Nigerian government "Oil Minister" and you feel the irresistible urge (and greed) to divide the booty with them allegedly taken from the country, STOP, and remember the story above before you provide your bank account number to facilitate their "depositing the proceeds" in your account. It will never happen. Identity Theft/Internet Fraud is the name of the game here.
If you have received or receive an unsolicited e-mail containing any of these characteristics, please forward the e-mail to ISU Public Safety for reporting purposes.
Reminder! April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month! Please watch for the different forums held to raise awareness of this issue, including Janet C. Anderson Center's Take Back the Night March and Rally on April 24th. For more information contact the Janet C. Anderson Center at 282-2805.