I was hanging out at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago, and as I often do, I took a look at what the guy next to me was reading. I asked him about it, and he recommended that I read it. He said a woman at the bookstore told him about it. The book is The Gift of Fear.
The title comes from the kind of fear that's a gift because it protects you from harm.
The man told me (from the book) about how bad guys will persistently refuse to accept "no" from a woman as a way of testing her to see if she will give in. If she does, he wins and she's under his control. And I recalled a time a man came up to a friend and me and kept pressing my friend to go to an event he was going to. As I watched, I had the feeling that he was a predator who sensed weakness in her and exploited it. She later backed out of the event and didn't go.
This morning when I was at the library I checked out the book. It opens with the story of what happened to a woman who ignored her fear-driven intuition and then how she saved her life by paying attention to it. The author, Gavin de Becker, describes each of the warning signs she ignored, and he discusses the ways we show (usually in retrospect) that we knew all along there was trouble coming.
He admits that men often don't understand women's fears:
I have a message for women who feel forced to defend their safety concerns: tell Mister I-Know-Everything-About-Danger that he has nothing to contribute to the topic of your personal safety. Tell him that your survival instinct is a gift from nature that knows a lot more about your safety than he does.
[M]en and women live in different worlds. At core, men are afraid women wil laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.
There's more in the book than just this. It talks about avoiding workplace violence and about violent children and other issues. It can be enough to make you afraid to go outside your house.
But after talking, over the last several years, with young women my daughter's age, I've found myself telling them to trust their instincts about men and the situations they find themselves in. They get a bad feeling about someone and then let logic talk them out of getting the heck out of there. And it's not just young women. People of any age are at risk of ignoring what their intuition (men, please read, "gut") tells them to do.
In spite of the chance that this book could raise your level of alarm, it has valuable information that could save your life or your well-being. I recommend it.