By Howard Greninger The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Shelley Klingerman, the author of "Vigilance. The Savvy Woman's Guide to Personal Safety, Self-Protection Measures, and Countermeasures" says there are simple things you can do to improve your safety.
The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
Vigilance is important, especially to women traveling.
And there are predators in today's society looking for an easy target, something Shelley Klingerman of Terre Haute hopes to teach women in her new book, "Vigilance. The Savvy Woman's Guide to Personal Safety, Self-Protection Measures, and Countermeasures."
"There is nothing that requires someone to go arm themselves or go put themselves in a position that requires a lot of training, these are really common things sense things that just need to be reminded," Klingerman said of the book.
Simple things like adjusting where you walk in a parking lot or even how you walk from place to place.
"The first thing that we have to get our kids to do, and we ourselves, is to look up and around, that simply alone is enough to bump someone who has got their eye on you, because they will go for the completely disengaged person," Klingerman said. "By simply not walking with your face in the phone and by looking around, you set apart and not easy a target as someone who is not paying attention."
In an elevator, be by the floor panel so you can control the stop button, as well as the alarm, Klingerman said.
"If someone gets on and you start getting the creeps, you have the ability to pull the alarm," she said. Yet first, Klingerman said to ask the person what floor they need. If they say the same floor as you, such as floor three, then also push floor five or six "so they are forced to get off at floor three, then ride the elevator up and back down," she said.
"We tend to be polite and let others get on, but we need to do is get on first, take control, then ask everyone else" what floor they need.
This knowledge is important to Klingerman as her daughter Quincey, the oldest of her three children, will attend Indiana University next year to study international and global studies.
"She will be required to study aboard. I think sometimes we as parents shy away from having these conversations because we don't want to scare our kids. I would rather my daughter be a little afraid than a lot dead," Klingerman said.
So why would someone become a target while traveling?
Klingerman writes that "in developing countries, kidnapping and ransom are one of the top five industries. Additionally, outside of the United States there is a common misconception that all Americans are rich. Therefore, Americans often are seen as ideal targets because they could fetch a handsome ransom that their American family, or even better their company, could and would pay."
Klingerman writes that safe behaviors include keeping your head up and eye scanning and walk with intention, which doesn't mean to run or walk quickly, "it just means to be deliberate with your steps and make it clear you know where you are going."
"Keep your face out of your phone and do not stop to search through your purse or bag," Klingerman said.
A voice can be powerful as well. "If you feel someone is following you or standing too close, addressing them directly with a clear, strong command to back away or stay away can be alarming enough to make then leave you alone," Klingerman said.
Other safe behaviors include keeping hands visible and free which lets a potential predator know you are ready and able to engage in a fight if needed, Klingerman said. Also, be aware of your space and the closest exit. Avoid getting into spaces where you can easily be trapped or subdued and don't go anywhere with a single in and out route if it can be avoided, Klingerman said.
The book was a project that spanned two years. It started as Klingerman worked from 2006 to 2010 producing the documentary film "Terror in American Schools: Are Your Kids Safe?" The film outlines threats to schools, and what can be done to increase school security.
"I have always been in this space from the documentary I did from 2006 to 2010 on school security. This spawned out of that process of doing that, I had the opportunity to talk to number of subject matter experts, military and law enforcement."
Klingerman is executive director of Launch Terre Haute, a membership-based collaborative co-working space open to freelance workers, independent contractors, entrepreneurs, and startup companies. Prior to that, she worked for more than two decades for SONY DADC, where she traveled often.
The book, published by Niche Pressworks in Indianapolis, launched on Amazon on April 11. It costs $12.95.
The book is also available at StilettoAgency.com, which is Klingerman's firm. The book's cover shows a stiletto shoe, with its heal being a stiletto knife.
Klingerman will have a book signing on May 15 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Launch Fishers, at 12175 Visionary Way in Fishers.