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For the main part Koh Samui is a very safe island. Reports of rapes and attacks are few and far between on the island and many of the long term female residents find that life here, especially for women, feels pretty threat free.
However last week one lady found herself in a situation that she found very scary and potentially dangerous.
The lady was walking her Siberian husky on the street behind the temple in Lamai. While she was going up the hill a man in his twenties approached her and engaged her in conversation about her puppy. The lady, with no reason to suspect anything was amiss, chatted with the man about the breed of her dog before he expressed an interest in seeing the dog running as he was very interested in this particular breed. He then proceeded to follow the lady and her dog on his motorbike. The lady got onto her own bike and was horrified to see, when she looked in the mirror that the man was not fumbling under his T-shirt. The lady immediately assumed he was going for a gun or a knife that he had concealed there, she remained calm, bid the man farewell and before driving away checked her mirror again only to discover that the man was exposing himself to her. She drove away as fast as she was able, with the man in hot pursuit. Her first thought was to get herself to a place where there were other people, so she pulled into the driveway of a house. Unfortunately nobody was at home, so when the man stopped close to her, she simply drove past him and headed for a building site with many workers. She alerted the builders to the fact that she needed help, however the man perusing her still hung around. She then called the police and found her way back home safely.
While this story does not have a disastrous ending it is important to remember that no matter where you are, it is important, especially for women, to know what to do if they find themselves in a dangerous situation, no matter how rare these incidents are.
No matter who you are with it is important to trust your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable in someone’s company you should avoid being in a secluded area with them. If anybody attempts coercion it is important to be firm with them. Attackers often prey on people who look vulnerable or are easily manipulated. If you are going out alone it is important to let somebody know where you are going and what time you are planning on returning home. If you are in a bar do not drink drinks that have been unattended and do not accept drinks from a stranger unless you have seen it poured behind the bar.
If you are out jogging or walking home at night, go with a companion. Avoid using headphones when out jogging as it will impair you ability to hear, be careful about wearing hats that block your peripheral vision. Be aware of who is in front of you and behind you. If you have to walk alone at night avoid poorly lit areas or areas with minimal escape routes. If you feel that somebody is following you, turn and ask them for the time, get a good look at them and note their overall appearance, attackers prefer to target victims who have not seen their face.
If you think you are going to be attacked try not to panic, if you are grabbed fight back, make a lot of noise and try to kick your attacker between the legs. If you are in situation where somebody is trying to force themselves on you, bite him has hard as you can and if that fails remember Grab, Twist and Pull, this meaning his testicles, it may sound silly but it may save your life. If you are wearing high heels use the heel to jab your attacker in the eye, good and hard, over and over. While biting your attacker will mean you draw blood, and then risk contracting blood/pathogen borne diseases, this outcome is preferable to being raped and still putting yourself at risk of contracting the same diseases. Bear in mind the Grab, Twist and Pull method will not work through thick jeans.
If you do see a man exposing himself to you, do not react, simply walk away, if you can make an note of what he looks like, with any distinguishing features, so you can report him to the police. While pointing and laughing at his appendage may deflate his ego and make him walk away it could also make him angry and put you in a more vulnerable position. Taking a photograph may be great for evidence, but the man then may decide to take your phone or camera from you so you cannot use the picture of evidence, and this may provoke an attack.
Once somebody has pulled the trigger on a gun there is little you can do in terms of out running it or dodging it. The best thing to do in terms of shooting is to avoid getting shot in the first place. If you find yourself in a situation where people are using fire arms the first thing to do is get as far away as possible. If you are unsure where the shots are coming from then run to a secure room. If there is no safe way to leave the scene of a shooting them you must find cover. Get behind a car, or a solid object that can stop bullets. Thin walls or doors are not enough to stop bullets, although they will hide you from the shooter. Stay behind your cover and if you can lie down, lying on the ground significantly reduces the likelihood of you getting shot. If you have to leave the scene of a shooting just leave, you can worry about your personal belongings later, use the time you have to maximize the time you have to get away, you are more important than your phone or wallet. If you have to take cover keep quiet. Breathe slowly and try not to cry, something that may alert the shooter to your presence, don’t talk to people nearby or make phone calls, if you can put your phone on silent and send a text to get help. Once you have taken cover, stay where you are, don’t move from one cover to another unless you really have to, staying put will reduce the amount of noise you make and draw less attention to your presence. If you have taken cover in a secure room quietly barricade the door if you can, lock the doors, cover the windows and turn off the lights. Then wait for help to arrive, this is really all you can do. Most shootings last for less than three minutes, so although it might seem like a long time, you won’t have to wait for long. If you are the direct target the first thing you need to do is evaluate the situation. If you are being mugged then comply with everything that is being asked of you, if you are in a fight then your options are pretty limited. If you are being pursued by somebody with a gun, do all you can to get away. If you have been caught then do your best to distract your attacker if your changes of escape look pretty good. Don’t turn you back on the attacker; this makes you an easier hit. If you can escape run in a zig zag pattern that will make you harder to hit, if you can create a visual distraction, like letting off a fire extinguisher do so. Take cover if you can, even if you can take partial cover it will help. If you think they are about to shoot, dive for cover if you can. During the confrontation, look out for any object that can be used as a weapon, heavy objects with sharp corners make good weapons. If you have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and no options the best thing you can do is talk to the shooter. Do not beg for your life or try to get him or her to feel sorry for you. Instead, sympathize with them and try to find out what he or she wants. Offer to help him and ask him why he is doing this; it may buy you time until help arrives. If the attacker appears to be preparing to shoot, try to get out of the way, moving at least increases the chances of getting hit in a less important area, it is very difficult to shoot accurately while moving. If your attacker is using a hand gun, the more distance you put between yourself and the gun the better, handguns are extremely hard to fire with accuracy. If you can hide pick up a rock or a tool that can inflict damage on the gunman when he approaches. Do not threaten your attacker with the fact you have a mobile phone and can call for help, he will want it. In any dodgy situation use your head. As soon as adrenaline kicks in things will seem t happen in slow motion. If you can remain calm and do not panic, your mind will process thoughts rapidly so it will seem like you have far longer to make a decision on how to react. The human skull is a powerful weapon, by bashing your head into an attackers nose you can inflict a lot of damage. If you are bear hugged from behind bash his face with the back of your head, if you can use a pen, a set of keys, a heavy objet such as a can of soup or an umbrella use those to defend yourself. Anything hard or heavy should be aimed at bones, anything sharp and pointed should be aimed at soft tissue.
If somebody is going to attack you with a knife, try not to panic, breathe deeply, if you know the person ask yourself if they will actually use the knife or just want to threaten you. If you are being mugged then hand over whatever the attacker asks for. Plan your next move, if there is no way to escape you will have to fight back. If you are being mugged, tell your attacker you don’t have anything, if he panics he may try to search your pockets, this is a good time to strike. Talk to your attacker, ask him why he wants to harm you, it may unnerve him. If you go to attack him he may have the chance to defend himself but you have the element of surprise. Waiting for him to lunge removes most of the ability of defense on his part, but you must be ready for it. Grabbing his wrist that is clutching the knife removes the danger of the knife, but be ready for a punch of a blow. If you can’t take the knife try to sweep his legs while keeping the knife away, this will give you the chance to control the direction of the knife, turn it and push if he is on the ground, you have the advantage of your strength and body weight, he will only have his strength.
Reading this article is no guarantee you will survive and attack and in real life people are unpredictable, even though there are very few reported attacks in Samui it is worth enrolling in some kind of self defense training. This video will give you some useful self defense tips.