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The Man With a Knife

Tips to Divert an Assault

By Lynda SpargurPublished 6 months ago 4 min read

I could have died this morning. I live downtown, six blocks from work, so I walk to and from every day. This is what happened to me this morning.

About two blocks from my place, I saw a man coming towards me who was holding a knife in his hands, with his hands crossed in front of his body. I could see about four inches of steel glinting in the sunlight. My adrenaline immediately rose. Do I turn around and try to get away from him? Or do I continue and take a chance?

This is my advice to all of you. If you see a dangerous situation and you can get out of it by running away, do so. I am an older woman, turned 55 last February, and I don’t run very fast.

However, in my youth I worked in a police department and for eighteen years I worked security. I trained in hand-to-hand combat and feel confident in myself. I knew if there was going to be a fight, I wanted to be facing my opponent.

Here is what I did. As we got within ten feet of each other, I looked him directly in the eyes. And yes, he was watching and assessing me. And I was watching and assessing him. I took note of several things; what he was wearing, how tall he was in comparison to myself, his build (thin, fat, muscular, etc.), since he was male his facial hair, and hair color.

You need to think of multiple things at the same time. You need to take note of everything about that person as well as make a plan of action should they attack. When I was young, around ten or eleven years old, my Dad started teaching me how to drive. Not physically behind the wheel, but theoretically. He would ask, “what would you do if that trailer came loose from that truck and started coming towards you?” “You need to get off at the exit, but you are blocked into the left lane, what do you do?”

This theoretical practice has come in handy, so many times. Because I practiced thinking of how I would react without the added pressure of driving, when I did start driving, I already had a plan of action if something did happen.

Nobody wants to be assaulted. But statistics show that the majority of women could be assaulted in their lifetime. Every person, female, and male need to be prepared just in case. It helps to practice when you are not in danger.

I relaxed my hands in preparation of defending myself. I rarely carry anything in my hands when I walk, I don’t listen to music or podcasts, and unless it is an emergency I’m not talking on the phone.

As this man and I got within three feet of each other, which is striking distance, I said “Good morning” and continued to look him in the eye. He didn’t respond, but he did recoil slightly and his eyes widened in surprise. Now most people who are intent on assaulting someone are looking for people who are not paying attention and who definitely are not watching them.

We continued past each other. I watched him over my shoulder, making certain that he didn’t turn around and come after me from behind. He continued down the sidewalk then turned at the next intersection and out of my sight.

Since there was no assault or aggression, I knew that this did not warrant a 911 call, however, I felt the police should be advised of this person walking around. It took me five minutes to find the non-emergency number and another fifteen minutes on hold to final report what happened. After we hung up, I put the non-emergency number in my phone contacts.

Here is my advice to you:

- Be aware of your surroundings at all times

- Don’t carry things in your hands if you can help it, if you must carry something. Be prepared to use it as a weapon

- Don’t listen to music or podcasts using both ears, keep at least one ear listening for danger

- Make eye contact with the people you walk past. If someone tries to start a conversation say, “I’m not interested, I’m just making certain you aren’t going to kill me.”

- Take note of the people around you and practice remembering what they look like. Include height, weight, age, race, clothing, possible weapons, demeanor and where they go once you pass them.

If you think you are about to be assaulted do the following:

- RUN! If you can get yourself away from the situation as quickly as possible. Go to a store or restaurant or jump onto a bus if you can. Just get out of the area.

- If you can’t run, make a plan. “If he grabs me, I will hit him with my coffee cup.”

- Make eye contact and acknowledge that person. Let them know that you see them.

- Take note of their appearance and actions.

- Maintain eye contact as you go past them.

- Continue to watch them until they are out of sight and or you are in a safe place.

- Contact your local police and report the situation.

I have lived in several major cities in the United States. I have walked home many times in all hours of the day and night. This is the first time I felt like I might be assaulted. I’ve prepared for this type of situation for years and I felt ready to react if needed. I strongly feel that the things I did this morning kept me from being a statistic. Be safe, be aware, and be prepared.

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About the Creator

Lynda Spargur

Screenwriter, Author, Creative Writer

Writer, dreamer, creator of new imaginary souls. Using my experiences to develop a better future. Crime stories, baseball and The Beach Boys are my passions.

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Comments (2)

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  • Test6 months ago

    Everyone to be aware of their surroundings and to take steps to stay safe, especially when walking alone. Her advice is sound and practical, and I would encourage everyone to read it carefully and remember it.

  • Kendall Defoe 6 months ago

    This is both terrifying and useful. Thank you!

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