Let’s face it, we have become collectively and respectively equipped to do what we can to guard ourselves against strangers and call for help with the iER App should we be attacked or feel threatened when our safe space is invaded. Yet, recent incidents have pinpointed children being lured by acquaintances as familiar as their teachers – who lead them to kidnappers for ransom, or women being taken advantage of by people, who suddenly become too familiar and endanger the safe space, in which they were privileged to be accommodated. Not to mention the unending horror of a spouse being directly and indirectly targeted by their life-partner.
It’s a scary world we live in, but it is rapidly beginning to seem as though the world out there is safer than our immediate safety zones.
Living in South Africa commands clear self-awareness in order to own your space and control your responses to any aversions experienced in a range of interactions. With strangers, you would naturally be on guard. With more familiar relations, it is important to achieve a balance between letting your guard down and continuing to remember to have a well-thought out plan of action, should a friendly squabble turn sour. After all, a sound level of focus is still required to find your mobile device and send an alert for help, or search for the attention of a third party bystander for them to intervene and send an iER alert on your behalf.
SELF-DEFENCE TAKES PRACTICE
- When attacked, you have three options – run, hide, or fight to defend yourself.
- Get fit – you need to be able to run away and respond physically. If you get winded too soon, an attacker may be able to catch up with you and disable you from defending yourself. 
- While you’re walking around a private or public area – strap a mobile device to your body. Smartphones can be strapped around the arm, which should be projected upward to assist with blocking an attacker. Alternatively, an adhesive strap should fix a phone to a part of the waist or hips, for easy access to an alert button while you are in motion.
- When you are pushed into a car, a dark alley, or against a wall — drive your weight forward onto your front leg, using your back leg as a stopper. Lean into whoever’s pushing you to win more time to regain control of your balance.
- If someone tries to rob you, it is recommended that you throw whatever is being demanded— whether it be your bag, your wallet, your money, your watch, your phone,etc— away from you as hard as you can, then run in the other direction. If the attacker shows aggression, just throw your bag at them and let it go – your life is a lot more valuable than a handbag.
- Should you be grabbed and pulled somewhere against your will, take a good look at his hands. The fist and grip are weakest where the thumb meets the fingers. If the assailant’s thumb is pointing upward, pull upward. If it’s facing right, pull right. If it’s downward, pull down. You’re most likely to succeed if you follow the thumbs.
- When you’re pushed and made to fall by someone in front of you, you’ll likely land in a sitting position. Resist the urge to get up immediately because if you get up and direct yourself forward that decreases the space between you and your attacker. Rather, stay seated and keep one knee up and one arm behind you. Your opposite arm is free to protect your head if your attacker approaches and you’ll still be mobile enough to spin around and keep your assailant in sight if he or she tries to move behind you or to the side. From there, lift with and rotate your hips and move backward to create distance and get away from whoever is too close to you.
- “If you are being choked, take your arm, slide it under his and control his opposite side wrist. With your other arm, grab his same-side elbow and pull him towards you. This seems like it’d be counterintuitive, but it will alleviate the pressure being placed on your neck and trap your assailant. Try to also control their foot with yours by locking your legs around it, which will prevent them from getting away. Finally, lift your body up and over by your hips with as much strength as you can muster, aiming as high as you can towards 11:00 or 1:00. You’ll flip them over and end up on top. Then make you way out of there.”
Home is still where the heart is. To own your space, the following suggestions need to be implemented to protect yourself:
- Ensure you have the updated iER App from Google Play or the App Store, and have it visible and easily accessible from your home screen.
- Don’t just download the app, tell everyone you know that you are an iER user, and share it on all social media networks that you have downloaded the iER App.
- You can invite friends via email, through sharing the application or by scanning a QR Code.
- Inviting friends from your contact list requires permission to access your contacts
- To generate or scan a QR Code, go to your menu and select the option.
- Share the application with friends by selecting ‘Share this App’ and sending a message with the download link
- Your mobile phone’s GPS location settings must be turned on for alerts to be sent out and received by the response centre.
- Start random and discrete cell groups on iER with various networks of social groups in your life – work colleagues, school mates, family, gym buddies, book club, fellow school parents, church parishioners, your local hospital, your favourite coffee spot, your supermarket butcher and baker, your hairdresser, the traffic department and more – then make sure to keep in touch regularly and maintain healthy relations with each cell group on a regular basis.
- In the “Settings,” select “Advanced Panic Settings” and choose between “Friends,” “Private cell” or “Public cell.”
- Select your preferred “Panic Alert” timer
- Test the App with false alarms on a random basis so you can brainstorm what you would do in certain situations– You are welcome to test any of the other alerts by sending a TEST note to the response centre to indicate that you are testing the app.
- Open the alert wheel by pressing on the iER icon and choose who you want to send your alert to – your alerts will always be sent to the call centre for assistance.
Should you be accidentally injured or fall ill during the process of fighting for your life, an alert needs to be sent out for medical attention using the iER App. You might also experience illness symptoms either as a result of psychological trauma or picking up an infection.
The sympathetic nervous system is known to trigger “Fight-or-Flight” reactions from the human body when attacked physically, mentally, or emotionally. “Unlike animals, which generally can restore their standard mode of functioning once the danger is past, humans often are not able to do so and they may find themselves locked into the same, recurring pattern of response tied in with the original danger or trauma. Understanding the signature patterns of these innate responses—the parts that combine to yield the given pattern of defence is important for developing treatment interventions. Effective interventions aim to activate or deactivate one or more components of the signature neural pattern,” in that way producing a shift in the communication patterns between your mind and your body. The process of changing what your brain tells your body is the necessary first step in fixing your trauma response in breaking the cycle of suffering, and in helping the you to adapt to, and overcome past trauma.
Symptoms that may advance beyond control and require medical attention include :
- Your heart rate may increase.
- Your vision may narrow (sometimes called ‘tunnel vision’).
- You may notice that your muscles become tense.
- You may begin to sweat.
- Your hearing may become more sensitive.
These symptoms can quickly escalate into comprised mobility – freezing, collapsing, limpness, inactivity – which may signal more threatening symptoms manifesting internally in your body.
MEDICAL EMERGENCIES DEALT WITH BY THE IER APP
- Number of medical alerts received from January to September 2019 – 1668
- Number of lives saved in September 2019 – 1604
- Number of lives saved from January 2019– 10415
The onus remains that no matter what encounters in or outside your home, you are the first agent that can come to your rescue – confront the threat or run away, whichever will preserve your life first is best.