Thursday, December 18, 2008

For the Ladies

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.


Malott said...

I believe men today generally have a more aggressive nature, and I believe that's because our world is flooded with pornography.

My advice to women: Dress modestly. Give not the slightest hint of encouragement to strangers... Anything else is carelessness and foolish.

janice said...

Ive been aware of my intuition from an early age. That and my mom was way over-protective and always warned me of all the possible dangers lurking just past the sidewalk in front of our house.

I've used my "gut" to guide me for decades, and it's kept me safe and alive.

This book is on my list of "must reads" for 09.

Christina said...

Sounds like a good book to check out.

I've always trusted that instinct because I do believe it's there for a reason. However, those warning bells can go off when dealing with women too. There is a particular woman that I keep bumping into in the mall, and there is just something about her that I do no trust at all. She hangs around the childrens' play area and other kids' areas and I've seen her talking to Emily on several occasions. Something about her feels wrong. I've even warned Emily to come to me when she sees that woman. (She's never unsupervised at these times, sometimes just across the room from where I'm watching.)

It's a scary world and the best advice is to trust very few and always use caution.

SkyePuppy said...


Good advice. Plus, women need to NOT BE AFRAID TO BE RUDE! That's usually what gets them in trouble. The guy is inappropriate, and she's afraid of not being nice, so she doesn't tell the creep to go away. He's counting on that.

SkyePuppy said...


It's good to have a functioning gut. I'm glad it's worked well for you.

SkyePuppy said...


You're right about women creeps. They're out there too.

Next time, you might alert the mall security about her. Tell them everything you said here and that she doesn't seem to have kids of her own, and ask them to keep an eye on her because she's a threat to the children. They may not take you seriously, but it could start them watching her anyway. Maybe you could even sneak taking a picture of her, just in case...

And read the book! It might give you more ideas and any extra courage you need (though, when it comes to Emily, I don't know if you need any more).

janice said...

Christina, I'm interested in how Emily feels around this woman. You know children (and dogs) have a good sense when it comes to people with nefarious motives.

Christina said...


Rather than take up a bunch of space on Skyepuppy's blog, I think I'll just reference this post on mine and tell the whole story. I'd be interested in everyone else's opinion anyway.

Check there in a little bit.