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Trick Or Treat, Safely!

As the leaves fall and the weather gets cool one of the most festive, crazy and creative holidays is quickly approaching. It is loved by the young and old, the at home- costume doers along with the over the top house decorators. If it isn’t for the bags full of candy or the mystery of “who is behind the mask” you cannot help but enjoy some part of Halloween.

This post will be packed of little Tricks and Treats to keep you and you family safe next weekend.  With every one running around getting that last eye ball to glue on  or finding the ‘just right shade of white face paint’ we at Divas In Defense do not want you to forget that safety is key to a successful evening.

Before you or a group of your Lil’ Ladybug or Fireman friends head out; make sure you have completed your check list:

  1. Have route already planned out.
  2. Make sure designated watchers are assigned.
  3. Costumes are properly fitted with reflector tape or some type of light that can be seen by drivers and walkers.
  4. You can even make your own waterproof informational tattoo. All you need is a sharpie and clear nail polish!

Costumes – Beware! Of people in mask or face covering costumes. They are not only cool to scare but they are an easy way to disguise a person real intention.

Candy – Check your kid’s candy and ‘When in doubt, Throw it out!!! For adults this rule applies as well, check those party favors and punch bowls.

Pets- You will want to keep your cats indoors especially the unofficial mascot of Halloween the Black Cat. Some may take this opportunity to really bring harm to your for legged friend.

Fierce & Fabulous Divas 21+ – With so many goblins and ghouls roaming the streets on All Hallows’ Eve, things can get a little scary. Here are some Uber tips so you have a safe night with treats and no tricks.

  1. Make sure driver ID, type of car and plate matches.
  2. Pre dial 911 – so you can hit send ASAP
  3. Call someone beforehand, while in the car and once you have reached your destination.
  4. Place a business care or matchbook in your purse to ensure you return to your correct hotel.

Halloween can be a fun time of year for both children and adults alike. Whether you plan to get decked out in an elaborate costume and attend a haunted bash, take the kids trick-or-treating, or stay home and hand out goodies to all the ghosts and goblins who appear on your doorstep, the usage of these little tricks and treats will ensure everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.

Back to School Safety & Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)

As much as parents are COMPLETELY ecstatic of children returning to school, safety is a primary concern. Recently in Vinings, Georgia, a smart middle school girl thwarted an attempted abduction. The story reported by @11alive as follows:

11 Alive (http://www.11alive.com) reported “A Campbell Middle School girl was walking home Tuesday afternoon when she said a black SUV approached her. The white male driver allegedly tried to lure her into his vehicle.

“She became suspicious when he wasn’t able to answer her questions. Instead, she ran to a nearby home for help.”

Her quick, intuitive thinking helped her return home safely. In this case, her life was at stake!

Did you know:

In December 2013, the FBI expressed they had more than 7,000 pending investigations involving child exploitation, including sex trafficking of minors and child pornography.

According to FBI statistics, Atlanta ranks among the top 14 cities in the United States for domestic minor sex trafficking. And some 300 girls across Atlanta are lured into trafficking every month.

Facts show this was a possibility of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST), especially here in the Atlanta area. I’ve had training from StreetGrace (www.streetgrace.org) whom I HIGHLY recommend for their diverse knowledge on the topic.

View the USDOJ’s Infographic on Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the U.S.

Learn more about Divas In Defense programs here. In addition, read about our On Her Own: Teen Self-Defense Workshop which covers preventive and informative material on bullying, social media net-iquette, cyber safety, identity theft, domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), dating violence, sexual assault and harassment.

Here are a few tips to share with your children to be safe:

  • Bus riders are the safest children.
  • Develop a “safe” word for your children, as well as a “not safe” word.
  • Establish a “check-in” system for latch-key children.
  • Encourage your children to travel in groups.
  • Teach your children the importance of not texting while walking.
  • Practice awareness techniques with your children daily.
  • Register your children for self-defense classes.

Here is the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number: (888) 373-7888.

The Purple Pocketbook

With a mission to change the world one app download at a time, Alicia Carr has developed an app that has the ability to save lives. Alicia Carr, born and raised in New York City now Georgia resident, has known since a young girl that she wanted to be a computer programmer. While Alicia and her family were living in Germany on a military base, Alicia began to take apart old computers, fix them then putting them back together. She has had multiple occupations that involved technological literacy, including administrative assistant and help desk supporter.  As Alicia was employed as an administrative assistant, she found a young man to mentor her on how to develop apps.

Alicia’s mentor gave her the idea of developing an app to assist women in abusive relationships. Alicia immediately connected with the idea since she had seen domestic violence first hand. Unfortunately, Alicia watched her mother, family members and friends fall victim to domestic violence. She was motivated to memorialize her best friend, Catina, who lost her life while attempting to end an abusive relationship. Alicia decided to combine her new learned skills and long- time passion for domestic violence prevention to create The Purple Pocketbook App.

Alicia chose The Purple Pocketbook because the color purple represents domestic violence prevention, and the first thing a woman grabs when she leaves her house is her pocketbook. Also women carry a variety of resourceful items in their purses, similar to the variety of resources located on the app.  The Purple Pocketbook App was designed to help women strategize an exit plan when women decided leave a domestic violence relationship. The app provides multiple resources such as location of shelters, Georgia state laws and hotline numbers. When asked about the intentional impact of The Purple Pocketbook, Alicia responded by saying, “I would be grateful if I can save just one life.” In the future, Alicia plans to grow and develop The Purple Pocketbook Foundation. Alicia’s foundation intends to follow the same mission as her app, but with a team behind her. The Purple Pocketbook is available for download in ITunes and Google Play Store for free.

For more info on Alicia Carr and The Purple Pocketbook follow her on social media


https://twitter.com/purplpocketbook

https://www.facebook.com/PurplePocketBook

http://techcodinggrandma.tumblr.com

http://www.thepurplepocketbook.org

 

 

Safely Exercise

Spring is here, and many of us enjoy going outside for some well deserved fresh air and exercise. The following list outlines very basic, common sense safety tips, so that you may be safe and get in shape.

1. Identification — Carry some form of identification on you. Most exercise gear have small pockets for this very reason. Ideally, you should have your driver’s license and/or a small card that lists your number and the number of an emergency contact.

2. Telephone — Having your telephone with you can help to keep you in touch with family and friends and, if necessary, connect you with emergency services. In cases where cell phone reception is not good or your phone runs out of battery, then it would be great to carry some change for a payphone or even have a phone card tucked away with your identification.

3. No valuable jewelry — Wearing expensive jewelry may bring unwanted attention to you and make you a target of thieves, so leave the fancy watch, rings, earrings, etc. back at home.

4. Partners — Exercising with a partner or group greatly reduces your chance of being targeted. Also, if one of you should get injured or sick, then the other is available to get help and reduce your vulnerability.

5. Know your route — It is best to be very familiar with your exercise route and know where there are any areas which may be potentially dangerous. Running or riding a trail path, even if you know it well, has its dangers — lurking threats, animals and injuries in isolated areas. It is best to travel these with a partner or at least map out your route using your smart phone’s map feature.

6. Family or Friends — Someone close to you should know when you are exercising, where you are exercising and when you are expected back.

7. Vary routes — You should have a few routes which you are very familiar with and change these up so that you are not predictable to someone who may be watching you.

8. Dogs are your best friend — If you own a large dog, then taking him with on a jog helps to deter people from approaching you. Plus, the dog benefits from the extra exercise. If you don’t own a dog, maybe borrow one from a friend or neighbor!

9. Pay attention to your surrounding — It is great to get into the “zone” while exercising, but make sure to stay aware of where you are, who is around you and where you are going.

10. Run against traffic and bike with traffic — This ensures that you are most visible to cars, buses and trucks. When possible, run on sidewalks away from traffic and ride in designated biking lanes.

11. No playlists on headphones — As tempting as it is to help pass the time, don’t wear headphones while exercising outdoors. Your ability to pay attention to potential threats from traffic, barking dogs and other people is greatly reduced when you are listening to music. Wearing headphones also signals to potential threats that you are preoccupied and vulnerable.

12. Be visible — If exercising in the dark then make sure to wear bright reflective clothing. There are many products on the market with reflective material — hats, headbands, vests, arm bands, tops, shorts/pants and shoes.

13. Keep moving — If verbally harassed or called out by an individual or group it is best to keep on moving. If the verbal harassment becomes a physical threat then get to the nearest safe place — business, home or building.

Internet Safety for Children and Teens

 

Though these tips are designed for children and teens, many of these tips are applicable to adults. You can never be too SAFE!

 

  • Personal Information. Don’t give out personal information without your parents’ permission. This means you should not share your last name, home address, school name, or telephone number. Remember, just because someone asks for information about you does not mean you have to tell them anything about yourself!
  • Screen Name. When creating your screen name, do not include personal information like your last name or date of birth.
  • Passwords. Don’t share your password with anyone but your parents. When you use a public computer make sure you logout of the accounts you’ve accessed before leaving the terminal.
  • Photos. Don’t post photos or videos online without getting your parents’ permission.
  • Online Friends. Don’t agree to meet an online friend unless you have your parents’ permission. Unfortunately, sometimes people pretend to be people they aren’t. Remember that not everything you read online is true.
  • Online Ads. Don’t buy anything online without talking to your parents first. Some ads may try to trick you by offering free things or telling you that you have won something as a way of collecting your personal information.
  • Downloading. Talk to your parents before you open an email attachment or download software. Attachments sometimes contain viruses. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Bullying. Don’t send or respond to mean or insulting messages. Tell your parents if you receive one. If something happens online that makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to your parents or to a teacher at school.
  • Social Networking. Many social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and blog hosting websites have minimum age requirements to sign up. These requirements are there to protect you!

Women and Children Used for Target Practice

Shooting children and the elderly is a universal “NO! NO!” An American law enforcement supply company is letting police departments purchase unusual products for target practice.

For only 99 cents per sheet, Law Enforcement Targets Inc. lets customers order life-like posters that show that people of all walks of life could be potential threats to police officers. Among the targets available in their “No More Hesitation” series for shooting practice are enlarged photographs of a pregnant woman, children holding hands and a high-school aged girl.

In every image, the suspect is shown holding a gun, meant to force officers of the law to act without hesitation in even the most unusual life-or-death scenarios. In a statement, the marketing team at Law Enforcement Targets explained the thought process involved in selling realistic targets that let people open fire on young children and the elderly alike.

“The subjects in NMH targets were chosen in order to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training,”
the statement begins.

“I found while speaking with officers and trainers in the law enforcement community that there is a hesitation on the part of cops when deadly force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition.”

In my opinion, the targets may cause the officers to be desensitized to people of those specific walks of life. The last thing that this country needs is desensitization of those in authoritative positions.

Josephine Siao- Trailblazer

Josephine Siao

In lieu of Women’s History Month, it is only right for us to acknowledge the greatness of women in martial arts. Typically the martial arts industry is dominated males with very few female influences. Martial arts movies have played a large role in media throughout history. Josephine Siao is a famous martial artist/actress that is a trailblazer in the film industry and  has impacted cultures across the world.

As the star of countless action and wuxia films in the 1960s, Siao paved the way for movies that would allow women central roles, went on to direct a very well-regarded cult film, and has since dedicated her life to fighting child abuse. Siao’s first movie appearance was at age six, and she became one of the biggest teen idols in Hong Kong.

Unlike many child stars, Siao made a successful transition to adult stardom, remaining one of Hong Kong’s most popular actresses. She was also one of the directors  and writers of Jumping Ash . This film is regarded as a prelude to the Hong Kong New Wave in the 1980s.

Having largely missed out on formal education because of her acting career as a child, Siao pursued her studies in later years despite the handicap of increasing deafness and the demands of raising a family. During this time she made fewer films, but her output included highly praised work.

Western fans of martial arts films will probably know her best from the Fong Sai-yuk films made in 1993, in which she played Jet Li’s kung fu–fighting mother. Siao has retired from show business since 1997 in favor of her work in child psychology. In particular, she is a noted campaigner against child abuse, and founded the End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation.

Couplepreneurship: Successfully Working with Your Spouse

Mixing business and pleasure can be a dangerous combination. My spouse and I have been couplepreneurs for over 6 years. It took us a few years to make it work. Over the years I have met other couplepreneurs and learned we shared similar challenges when working with our spouses. I would not trade it for anything in the world but it wasn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keeping the sanity when working with your significant other:

  1. Write down your expected roles and responsibilities: This is your first step. You need to understand the expectations of each other and what roles you will play in the business. You will need to write down your job descriptions and responsibilities.
  2. Create business hours and home hours: I am not a believer in the work-life balance myth but I do think you need to set boundaries. Create “office hours” and family hours to make sure you give dedicated time to your business and your family.
  3. Create official business meeting times: You need to schedule a daily, weekly or twice a week meeting just like you would at a corporate job. You need to make sure you bring challenges and success stories to the meeting. Run it like a real business and not a hobby.
  4. Remember you are spouses first and business partners second: Love each other and remember that you are spouses first. The business is important but your relationship is more important. Put down the phone sometimes and spend time with your spouse.
  5. Schedule “No Business” vacations: Quarterly my husband and I have a staycation in our city. We are not allowed to talk about businesses during this time. It is important that you stay connected with each other.
  6. Remember that everyone makes mistakes: You and your spouse are not perfect. Remember to treat each other fairly and speak to each other with respect. Talk about the issue and find a solution together.
  7. Celebrate together: It is easy to work hard to build your dreams together. You have to take the time to celebrate your success along the way {both big and small}. It is no fun if you cannot enjoy the good times together.

Working together can be a great experience if you remember not to sweat the small stuff and have fun along the way.

Safe Apps

Ten years ago, it was difficult to communicate to let family and friends know that you were safe. It was even more difficult to let them know you were in a unsafe situation. Now, we all have cell phones with GPS locators. This recent technology provides a safety net for cell phone users. The are multiple apps that provide ways to communicate with authorities, family and friends in emergencies or sketchy situations. Below are a few apps that are great additions to your current apps.

Watch Over Me

Watch Over Me greets you with a screen that presents two statements, ‘Watch Over Me While I…’ and ‘For…’, followed by two buttons. For each statement you fill in an action (‘walk home’, ‘walk to my car’, ‘take a cab’, ‘meet someone’, or add a new event), and a time frame . Once you’ve selected these specifics and tapped the ‘Watch Over Me’ button, the app takes you to a countdown screen with a round button to tap to confirm your safety, and a square button below it to tap to extend the watch session. If you don’t confirm your safety by the time the counter hits zero, the app contacts your previously designated friends (via SMS, email, or even Facebook) with your GPS location. Two other buttons remain constant throughout the app: the Instant Emergency Alert button, and a banner at the top that you can tap to unlock all the app’s features.

bSafe

bSafe has some of the same features as Watch Over Me—for instance, it allows you to add contacts (it calls them Guardians) who can follow you when you’re on your way home. Like the other apps, it has an SOS button that will set off an alert to your Guardians, with your GPS location. Once you’ve registered with bSafe, the app asks you to select Guardians from your contacts list. You’ll need to have at least one contact that can be reached via telephone; other Guardians can be accessible via text message or a combination of the two.  If you’re in danger, hit the red SOS button, and the app sounds an alarm, sets off a bright light on your phone, texts your location to your contacts, and calls a Guardian.

Circle of 6

The design is simple. It takes two touches to get help, so no fumbling or digging around for the right number. The design ensures safety, speed and privacy. GPS is integrated (using Google maps), and is only activated by you, and sent to your own Circle of 6. It uses icons to represent actions, so that no one can tell what you’re up to if they see your phone.

1. Car icon: Come and get me. SMS message reads, “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely. My GPS coordinates are…”

2. Phone icon: Call me. SMS message reads, “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”

3. Chat icon: I need some advice. SMS message reads, “I’m looking for information, just letting you know.” This will link the user with risk-assessment tools and information about healthy vs. abusive relationships developed by content partners.

The Great “8” Spring Break Safety Tips

The Spring Break season is steadily approaching. This is the time where teens and family do lots of travelling. It is important for Spring Breakers to use caution and discretion when visiting different cities. Below are a list of tips provided to assist travelers to their vacation and back in the safest way possible.

  1.  Never leave valuables in plain view in your car. Lock items in your trunk before reaching your destination.
  2. Before leaving your hotel, take a card from the front desk with the name of the hotel, phone number, and address, just in case you need help getting back. Also, put this information in your phone to be extra sure you have it.
  3. All genuine taxis will have some sort of ID or badge. Check for this before accepting a ride.
  4. If you ever feel unsafe, it is completely within your rights to abandon a taxi or any other ride service at a safe stop. Leave money behind on the seat and get out of there if you don’t feel safe.
  5. Try to go the ATM in groups, but avoid getting overly complacent about safety just because you’re traveling in numbers.
  6. When entering in your pin number, use your other hand or your body to cover the keypad. Just because you don’t see someone watching you doesn’t mean there couldn’t still be a camera capturing what you type.
  7. When you check in at the front desk, use discretion in saying your room number out loud for anyone in the lobby to hear. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
  8. Always keep an eye on your drink. If you go the bathroom, take your drink with you! Date rape drugs can be put into any drink, including non-alcoholic drinks. It is also important to remember that while drugs being slipped into drinks is something you should be aware of and guard against, alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug. In a 2007 study by the National Institute of Health, it was reported that 89% of female undergrad sexual assault survivors reported drinking before their assault. No survivor is to blame for their assault, but the links between alcohol and victimization are staggering and cannot be ignored.
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