OUR BLOG

Give A Potential Attacker the Finger!

“It’s like a blue light in the palm of your hand.”

With attacks on unsuspecting victims popping up left and right, it’s always boggled my mind that there hasn’t been a way to immediately and discreetly contact the police vs. calling 911 outright. The latter is a dead give away to any potential aggressor that you’ve called for help. With all the modern technology out there, I thought, why can’t people somehow TEXT 911?

While mobile phones have helped a lot of people escape dangerous situations that are detrimental to personal safety and well-being; smartphones have tried to take it to the next level. I’m not armed with data or analytical insight here but in general, smartphones have not been a radical addition to this security issue. There are apps which help you alert the cops and your friends when you are in danger. SafeTrek is one such app, a very ingenious one at that. SafeTrek promises to significantly enhance student safety by augmenting the infrequently-used “blue light” emergency phone systems on many college campuses.

SafeTrek is a security app for the iPhone and Android. It’s a very simple app which – when used and triggered – will alert the cops silently with a danger-alert tagged with your current location. When you feel unsafe, all you have to do is tap and release a button on the app. The Safe Trek system includes an app where students worried about their safety can hold down a large virtual button that causes the phone to vibrate and the screen to animate. If the user doesn’t input a private PIN within ten seconds, the local police dispatcher receives a web alert that tracks the student’s path on a map. The dispatcher and student can exchange text messages or speak directly until the situation is resolved

Many lives have been saved because of SafeTrek. Whether a user is walking down an alley late at night or hears a strange noise in his/her own home, SafeTrek offers a guarantee of security when the user might not be able to call the police on their own.

Designed to beat the time it takes to dial 911 and send your SOS message, SafeTrek started as a small project but has found some widespread success. The app works very simply:

If you feel unsafe – say, when you are out in the night or going through deserted streets with suspicious folks strolling around – open the app and press-and-hold on the Safe button.
• After you are out of the unsafe zone and are sure that you are safe, remove your finger from the button and enter a PIN to cancel the alarm system which will send a message to the authorities.
• In case you are in an emergency, all you do is remove the finger from the Safe button. In ten seconds, if you don’t do anything, the SOS will be sent and your location will be tracked/monitored constantly.
• You can cancel the alert in ten seconds.

When Real Estate Becomes Too Real!

”We do try to meet with our clients at our office first, but there are some occasions where meeting a potential client at a home is easier or more convenient.”

It’s a sad reality, but real estate agents – especially women – need to be vigilant about their exposure to predators when out showing properties. For that matter, so do their customers. It is fortunately a very rare occurrence, but every year agents become targets of violent criminals. In light of the recent kidnapping and murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter, her attacker said, she was targeted because “she was a woman who worked alone” – The Associated Press reported. The motive for the attack remains under investigation though Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Simon Haynes said that Lewis “was a stranger to her” who investigators believe saw her as “a target of opportunity.”

We wanted to review some of the safety precautions to take when showing homes to strangers:

Before You Go Out
• Keep a charge on your cell phone.
• Do not use “glam shots” in your ads – I know we are all Fierce & Fabulous but keep it professional.
• Never advertise a listing as “vacant” or “current unoccupied” – most attackers are “right time attackers”
• Do a reverse phone search

Avoid Being A Target in the Field
• Choose your showing time wisely
• Do the driving…. Do not get in the prospect’s car
• Know where the exits are
• TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
• Take a copy of their ID with your cell phone
• Park with leaving in mind.
• Consider carrying mace, pepper spray

Open Houses
Conducting open houses can be tricky: You don’t have the same security options that you do when you are meeting people at the office.

* Go meet the neighbors. Tell them you’re showing the house. It’s a good way to get referrals. It’s an even better way to know you have a safe place to run to if you need it.
* Don’t work open houses alone. You can’t control how many people walk in on you.
* Have an alternate destination.- never go straight home after an open house, you can never be sure if someone is following you.

Apps That You Can Download
ICE Black Box this is different from the ICE app that has been around for awhile. With this app, you can video record events such as dangerous situations, suspicious activity, crime as it’s happening or if you feel you are in danger. The video is then stored on another server so that no can force you to erase the video and even if the phone is damaged, the video has already been stored on

On Call Defender has one solution – a monitored mobile phone application. Tap three times and the police are on their way – all for $6.99 per month for the monitoring service. MyForce is another option.

Beverly Carter, and others were all victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Attackers are like predators in the wild, they will go for the prey that are isolated. They are cowards and looking to prey on what they presume to be the weak.

For more information and resources:
www.divasindefense.com
ABC News http://abcn.ws/1rGGFT8

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Like many of our Divas and especially our Atlanta Divas; who attended our Kicks & Flicks for this movie, I could not stop hearing about ‘No Good Deed’ and its plot.
As I sat with my mom in the theatre the question – Can this really happen? Popped up scene after scene.
We’ve all done it: answered the door, when we know we are not expecting anyone. Thank goodness for most of us, it is usually your friend, neighbor or postman. But what if they are not
In the first 10 minutes I saw a billion steps the main character played by Taraji P. Henson did absolutely wrong:

Here is a brief list just incase you missed the signs:
Open door for someone she wasn’t expecting.
Continue conversation with stranger then informed stranger that she was home alone
Left door unattended.
Invited stranger into the home.
Alarm pad not in use!!

The Divas In Defense team has put together a few hints so we can all avoid being caught on the wrong side of home invasions.

Know Thy Neighbor
The reason behind this is three-fold. Firstly, if you know the people who live around you, then you can tell much more easily if someone there is out of place. Also, in the event of an emergency, it’s a good idea to have at least one of your neighbor’s phone numbers (if not more) to reach out for help.

Stay Secure
There are many levels of prevention. There are the simpler measures (get a dog, which make for great deterrents; make sure doors have peep holes, and use them; make sure all locks are functional and that any outside fences are in good condition) to the larger ones (get an alarm that actually alerts a security service; install security cameras–even ones that are visible to any possible perps) to the really big guns (panic room, anyone?). Which of these you should employ ultimately depends on your personal circumstances, but all (or nearly all) of them are worth investigating.

When Precautions Fail

There are further measures you can take in the event someone does breach your home.

Have a pre-meditated escape plan: Know how you will quickly and safely evacuate you and your family from the house. Make a Meet Up Place!

Learn self-defense: This is not only from a physical stand point from the self confidence you gain from becoming Empowered over your own body. Attackers play on a victim’s vulnerability.

Let them take your stuff: They’re only there for your girl’s jewelry and expensive electronics…let them have at it! All of that stuff—ALL of it—is replaceable. You and your loved ones are not.

Don’t let them take you: As bleak as it sounds, whatever may happen to you wherever they take you will be far worse than what happens in the house. Be it by negotiation or by force, do not let home invaders take you or your loved ones.

Was this movie extreme, ehhhh I say yes but it was done correctly. It gained attention of everyone. The roles played by all characters can easily be reverse. Man home alone with his kids then a stranger knocks…

My Words Should Be Enough!

My Words should be Enough!

Today many of us rode to work hearing the breaking news of video footage that showed NFL player Ray Rice involved in a domestic dispute with his wife. We all remember the initial story a few months ago, but now seeing actually footage has brought this abuse back into our timelines. Though Rice admitted his mistake, many onlookers voiced their discern of how his punishment lacked severity. The NFL suspended him two games after an “investigation”. NFL will now suspend players six games for their first domestic violence offense, at least a year for any subsequent instances. For many, this felt like an important step, even if it came after insufficient punishment.

Still, this does not explain why seeing the violent video caused the uproar to grow exponentially. The fact is there was doubt where that shouldn’t have been. People have reacted with great vigor and called for more punishment only after seeing this video. We have to remember the countless victims who have watched the constant coverage of the initial incident and have recanted their stories or have kept silent this whole time. Is the tremendous support for Janay Rice helping other survivors to speak out. The way we as everyday people treat victims is far more concerning than seeing actually images. It is already hard enough for a victim to seek help or refuge, the last thing they need is for someone of authority or even their own to doubt them.

We knew a man beat a woman, but a choice was made to not fully believe the victim, to not fully stand behind the woman…to disgustingly applaud the predator as he returned to work. Of course, people can say that they believed her claim the entire time and they supported a lengthy suspension. Yet, it doesn’t explain why seeing the violent video caused the uproar to grow exponentially. The fact is there was doubt where that shouldn’t have been. The league thought two games was a fair punishment. The video becoming available does not change the logic of that decision. They had doubt where there should have been none. A man beating a woman needed vivid, violent imagery to warrant a suspension labeled “indefinite” instead of “two”?

Janay Rice apologized for her role in the incident, though no action by her could ever warrant Ray Rice’s response. She didn’t press charges. She sat by Ray Rice and used the word “regret”.
What’s actually regrettable is, in this instance, in too many neighborhoods, on too many college campuses, women feel pressured to not speak out. Those who are verbally abused, beaten, sexually assaulted, raped stay silent because they are unsure of justice. They have doubt because they know they will be doubted…until some vivid, violent imagery emerges. If thE imagery doesn’t emerge, no matter their pain, there will be people who doubt their claims. There will be people who blame the victim. So, to avoid that potential stigma, they don’t open up. Because the uncertain pursuit of justice leaves them again open to victimization. Whereas arguable doubt leaves the predator shielded from absolute judgment.
A woman who seeks to speak out shouldn’t have to be “strong”. She should just be a woman who feels confident and protected in her pursuit of justice. Yet, women need the doubt, the degradation, to be dissolved before this can be a reality.

For more resources:
http://divasindefense.com/wp/company-info/victim-resources/

Hey Mom/Dad, What About Me?

Check The Back Seat, Before You Stand On Your Feet

This rising epidemic of children dying in cars is out of hand. As a parent, the fear of any of my children dying before me is one of my worst nightmares. It seems as if there is a new story daily of a parent arrested or distraught over the death of a child left behind. Whether intentional or not, the loss of life through heat and dehydration is a miserable death.

According to SafeCar.gov, here are a few Risks & Consequences:

Risks:
– In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.
– With temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees.
– A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adults.

Consequences:
– The heat-related death of a child.
– Misdemeanor with fines as high as $500 – and even imprisonment in some states.
– Felony, depending on the state, if bodily harm results from leaving kids alone in a hot car.

Here are a few tips to prevent leaving a child in a car:

1. Stay off the phone! As a self-defense professional, I am dumbfounded by the lack of attention to life while talking or texting on a cellphone. I swear it is situational awareness’ arch nemesis. I’ve personally seen a teenage girl sideswiped as she walked into oncoming traffic blindly texting on her phone. It is the ultimate distraction in which the convenience causes some many negative consequences.

2. Talk to your child. The demands of our lives leaves little room for quality time with our loved ones. I can admit, I too am guilty of being non-attentive to my family. We are a household of technology, iPads, iPhones, Galaxy Tabs, Galaxy S5, Amazon Kindles, video games; you name it, we got it. If you are in the vehicle with your child or children, this is a perfect time for quality time. Staying off of technology prevents accidents and talking to your child(ren) is nourishing and a continuous reminder of their presence.

3. Have a reminder! The old string on your finger adage is a thing of the past, yet the need to be reminded is even more prominent than the days of old. We have a product called, The BabySitter, which is a distance alarm for small children and those with dementia and autism. The BabySitter looks like a Teddy Bear with a separate keychain alarm. When the distance between the two reach 3 to 10 meters, the keychain beeps to acknowledge lack of close proximity to one another. In addition, it also works in stores and parks with the addition of a built in 90db child locator alarm.

For more information regarding The BabySitter, visit http://www.divasindense.com.

Download “A Parent’s Guide to Playing It Safe With Kids and Cars.

Fire(harmless) Training

I recently went to the shooting range for the first time.  While I’ve always been somewhat hesitant about firearms I must say it was an amazing experience.  The feeling of pulling the trigger and hearing that subsequent “pop” is exhilerating.  With the proper firearm training, a woman can protect herself in an instant.  The news is always relaying a story about domestic violence against women.  The statistics are astounding, and only seem to get worse and worse by the year.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.”  That’s a 25 percent chance that you or someone you know will fall victim to the anger of a trusted person.  Knowing this it’s important to not only learn basic self-defense techniques, but also educate yourself on the use of a gun.  Remember that we offer firearms training at Divas In Defense with our Fire(Harmless) Gun Training course.  Be sure to contact us and sign up today!

You Can’t Do What You Want, It’s My Body

Let me tell you a story of a bi-sexual woman who exudes sexuality; and two men: one accused of possession of child pornography and molestation of under aged girls; and the other sexual exploitation and coercion of young women. Seems like the brewing of a report on eyewitness news.

Well, this is what happened when you get Lady Gaga, R. Kelly and Terry Richardson to do an Advertisement for Rape “collaborative project” called, “Do What You Want With My Body.”

According to the reports, Gaga asked Kelly, “Will I ever be able to walk again?” and he replied, “Yes, if you let me do whatever I want with your body. I’m putting you under, and when you wake up, you’re going to be pregnant.” The video clip of the pulled music video posted by TMZ (see video clip here) depicts a young unconscious woman as a playground for sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, date rape drugs such as rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine makes this video depiction a real-life situation for too many young ladies. As an Atlanta resident, I am embarrassed that we are ranked No. 1 for Sex Trafficking and at the bottom of the spectrum for high school dropouts.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from being a victim:

– Keep your drinks with you at all times.

– Don’t accept drinks unless they’re delivered by bar staff.

– Pay attention to the way you feel.

– Use methods of detecting the presence of date rape drugs, like DrinkSavvy, a company which designed a cup to detect date rape drugs.

Women Rule The World

This year has gone by crazy-fast.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we welcomed the year 2014, yet it’s already halfway over?  Quite a few newsworthy events happened recently, putting the spotlight on women and female empowerment.  First, on May 23, our country was shocked by the actions of a young man, who will remain unnamed.  The gunman opened fire in the Delta Delta Delta sorority house at University of California, Santa Barbara killing two innocent women.  After writing a lengthy manifesto and posting misogynistic rants on his YouTube channel, he made it clear that the rejection he faced from women over the years angered him.  This man targeted women simply because they were women.

In light of the shooting there’s much controversy surrounding the winner of this year’s Miss U.S.A pageant.  Miss Nevada, Nia Sanchez, was asked why college campuses are so eager to dismiss reports of sexual assaults that occur under their watchful eye.  In response, Sanchez stated that women should learn to defend themselves. Reasonable response, right? Many people are attacking her response, however, because it is believed that we shouldn’t blame women for being assaulted, but rather make harsher laws for the perpetrators.  While both sides have excellent points, females of all ages should certainly take the initiative to protect themselves first.  There are lots of things women and girls can do to educate themselves on self-defense. While Nia Sanchez is a 4th degree Black Belt, simply learning the basics is a huge step in the right directions.Taking a self-defense class or purchasing a can of pepper spray is a great first step!  After all, women are very, very close to ruling the world.

Three Safety Tips to Defend a Home Invasion

There’s no place like home!

Time and time again we chant, “Lord, let me make it home safely.” What if the same dwelling you find solace in is compromised? What would you do? Yesterday, an intruder armed with a machine gun entered the home of Oscar-winning actress, Sandra Bullock. After spending over an hour in her home, she managed to stay safe. See more of the story from CNN here.

Here are a few preliminary steps you can take to ease the stress of an intrusion:

  • 1. Have an evacuation plan in place. Knowing what you are going to do before you have to actually do it, makes life simpler. If you and your family (housemates) practice what to do in case of an invasion, fire or natural disaster, it can minimize the stress of finding everyone should there be an emergency. Have a place INSIDE the home to meet or escape to if someone breaks in. In addition, a place OUTSIDE the home in case of fire or following a natural disaster assists with an adequate head count. Put in place and practice often.
  • 2. Put that OLD CELLPHONE to use! If you, like most of us, change out your cellphone every couple of years; it’s likely you have an “extra” around the house. If a cellphone has had service at least one day, it is permanently registered with 911 and is able to make calls to emergency operators. It is recommended for you to keep an old phone in the “panic room” for access. Having to worry about finding your phone may not be as easy if you are in fear.
  • 3. Arm yourself with a “household” weapon if you don’t own a gun, stun gun or pepper spray. You can order some non-lethal weapons such as stun guns, pepper sprays or door stoppers and alarms from Divas In Defense. Something as simple as a stick or aerosol spray can act as your last line of defense if need be. Keep a weapon in your panic room and be prepared to use it. Instruct your family or housemates on the location and proper use of the weapon as well.
  • As self-defense teaches, preparation and awareness is a majority of the battle. Visit Divas In Defense to register for self-defense training.

    Justice For All

    The month of May quietly, but swiftly, sneaked up on us. April brought us Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as several interesting stories hovering through the news. In the last few days of April, 55 colleges throughout the U.S were named by the Department of Education as being under investigation for sexual assaults under Title IX. According to Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Many of the colleges listed are some of the most prestigious schools in the country such as Vanderbilt University, Princeton University, Harvard College, and University of Southern California, to name a few. This is a huge step in the right direction seeing as one out of every four college females claims they survived an attempted or completed sexual assault during their time at a campus. It’s wonderful to see the most influential leaders of our country stepping up for women all across the country.  Even some celebrities are raising their voices on the issue:

    Another recent development is the abduction of more than 250 school girls from a school in Nigeria. The world waits, holding its breath, to find out if these poor girls are safe. An Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. What can you do to help? Get on Twitter and use the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to raise awareness on the subject and to give some comfort to the victim’s families that you support them and hope for their daughter’s/sister’s/friend’s safe return. It may not seem like a lot, but the families of these girls, who might even be your age, need your support and love.

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