Last night a buddy of mine sent me the link to a blog by a South African babe called 'Jam'. Her post is titled 'No longer feeling so safe'. In it, she laments the fact that South Africans are in a certain amount of deep trouble with regards to crime. And she wants people to do something about it. Please read her post and respond as you choose.
She refers to an incident which happened recently in Melville, one of Johannesburg's trendy nightspots. In the incident, a late night reveller decided she would go home. Her car was parked out on one of the streets. She prudently asked a male friend to walk her to car as 'protection'.
So two thugs accosted the male friend, shoved him in the boot of the car, and drove the girl and their trunk-companion to Soweto, and proceeded to rape her several times.
They then told her how to get back to Joburg.
This on the back of the Illustration Friday topic for this week -- 'Peace'.
Here's my contribution. I've copied my comment from Jam's blog, neatened it up, and offer it to you as advice for coping with the threat of attacks if you also live in a hectic country.
I've also drawn up a visual guide on how to attack someone with a key.
This is distributed under a Creative Commons 'Non-Commercial -- Attribution -- Share-Alike' license. So please feel free to download the high res version and distribute it if you find it useful.
Here's my 'How To Survive Johannesburg':
Just a quick 1:30am answer to your question as to who to be suspicious of...
It's not really a matter of WHO to be suspicious of. It's a matter of 'developing your radar'.
Something interesting happens to those who are observant. They tend to notice oddities in their environment just that little bit quicker than the rest.
And even more interesting is that 'the suspicious characters' we're on the lookout for are normally much more observant than the average person. When they notice an observant person, they tend to melt away.
It's not a hard and fast rule, cos some of the suspicious types are also high on crack, and don't give a damn, really. But they're exceptions to the rule.
Part of living in South Africa MEANS keeping a lookout. Stop BEFORE the line at traffic lights and stop signs. WAY before the line. As you're approaching, look left and right. Look behind you. Look where your blindspot is. Crane your neck about. If you see ANYONE in an 'out of the way' place... they're more than likely criminals.
When you're approaching your car in a parking lot or out in the streets of Melville, concentrate. Seriously. DON'T kiss your lover outside your car. Be aware, alert.
Have your key in your hand from when you get onto the pavement. There's a special way to hold a key to sucker punch someone. It's NOT the way you've been taught... that way will rip your hand open. See my illustration for details.
Lastly, it's imperative that you learn some form of self defence. I can recommend tai chi. It's a long, slow route to becoming adept at it. But it IS a lethal martial art, and it definitely generates the type of non-paranoid awareness you need for South Africa.
Here's one self-defence tip that you need to know...
The ONLY place to attack a man is the top of his foot. It's vulnerable. Lots of fragile little bones. Not easy to defend against. And it's the easiest target to take by surprise.
It's the only place to attack because it is literally the only part of the body that you can damage instantly, and that will debilitate the man.
NO OTHER TARGET IS SUITABLE. Please hear that.
Not the bollocks. Not the shin. Not the knee. Not the nose. Not the windpipe. Those targets are all VERY difficult to damage.
The way to break the top of the foot is to simply stamp down hard on it with your heel. Repeatedly. Until the guy drops.
He drops because it's mechanically impossible to walk with a foot broken in such a way.
You can THEN aim stuff at his temple, where the lower jaw meets the ear. That's a nice secondary target once the guy has dropped.
But it's probably a good call to just drop him and flee.
The other tip you absolutely NEED to know is that a man gets approximately three times stronger than a woman when under the influence of adrenaline. (In other words, an adrenaline-charged man will be something in the region of three times stronger than an adrenaline-charged woman of the same body mass.)
This is physiological. And there is nothing you can do about it.
EXCEPT for one thing... don't let the guy get adrenalised.
If you can, do your best to help him stay calm. By talking in a low pitch, quietly, pretending to agree with what he's demanding. Engage him in a non-aggressive, non-threatening way.
This will get you close enough to his foot to break it.
Especially if rape is his intent. You must NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE RAPED. But you must give yourself all options of stopping the attack. And if that means pretending to cooperate, then that's what you've gotta do.
Lastly, do not EVER get into a vehicle with an assailant. It WILL lead to rape, and very likely death. Do WHATEVER you can to escape from a vehicle. DO NOT COOPERATE on this one. If they've got a gun, it's better to be shot in public than in whatever secluded area they take you to. You have a chance of surviving out in the open.
Oh... one absolutely last thing... if you happen to kill someone in self-defence, it is absolutely imperative that you say THESE words to the police when they come: 'I clearly saw his gun, and he was aiming it at me, and threatening to kill me.'
If you express even a shadow of a doubt as to whether or not your life was at risk, you may be jailed. A friend of mine shot two hijackers who actually shot at him first and missed. He killed both of them.
When the cops came, they said, 'Did you see the weapon?' He answered, 'With the first guy, I saw the weapon, and shot him after he missed me. The next guy came at me from behind, and I'm not EXACTLY sure, but he seemed to be pointing a gun at me.' The cops said, 'You're not really sure that he was pointing a gun at you?' And he said, 'I'm pretty certain he was.' Cop: 'But not certain?' And he went to jail for three months pending trial. And he recommends that no sane human being wants to go through that.
I hope this doesn't fuel the paranoia. It's really meant to help you think differenly about your personal responsibility for your safety.
Yes. I know we SHOULD be able to do without this. But we CAN'T right now. And so we HAVE TO be aware. And know what to do.
This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4. It's all entirely handpainted. There are no bucket fills or anything like that. The lettering is by hand. All of it. And yes... I DEFINITELY haven't glamourised myself by appearing to be more muscled in the pic than in reality. I'm really huge. Very very very strong. Right. That should stop people from challenging me to an arm wrestling match. Phshew.