My Defenses- Part 2, by Sarah Latimer

  • Be secure and uninviting. Keep your gates, doors, and windows locked and secure as much as possible. Limit access to your property and home to one or two main entrances and keep those well guarded, monitored, and locked. Be sure to keep shrubs and trees trimmed so you can exit and see what is in the yard around your home. You don’t want to walk up to the front door with keys in hand and have someone jump out from behind your tall shrubs and push you inside and lock the door behind you to isolate you and do whatever evil they intend! You need good visibility and low shrubbery! We grow thorny rose bushes in front of our windows to deter anyone from standing right outside the windows. Then, small evergreen shrubs are grown between and forward of those and kept trimmed below three feet tall. Trees are trimmed tall, and no large-trunked trees grow right up beside the house to obstruct views or enable a hiding place near entrances.

    Exterior lighting is used in addition to porch lights, and these can be turned on and off remotely. LED bulbs are used to reduce electricity drawn throughout our home and property, as we intend to rely upon our solar power for all key operations if the grid goes down. Even small solar path lights can be easily purchased and used to help light walkways without investing in a complex full-house solar system, and we use these for our camping/bug out retreat quite well, too.

    The audio/intercom/video system enables me to speak with delivery personnel or visitors without having to open up to them. Even if you live in town, having a means to communicate without opening the door is valuable. A solid glass outter door that locks can be easily broken, but it is better than having nothing between you and an unknown person, and it gives you a second to get the main door closed and locked and then determine your next course of action, whether that is calling 911 and/or getting your self-defense weapons in place. (We keep weapons strategically located throughout the home.) Also, having an audio/video system in play alerts them that you may have other electronic systems in place, such as alarm systems and possibly recorded/remotely observed video. Of course, an alarm system with monitoring and the signage to advertise its existance may be useful if you have a responsive police force in close proximity to where you live. Most of us in rural areas know that we won’t be able to get help out to us within the critical seconds or few minutes that are usually required to stop a violent crime from happening, but anything that can make our place less desireable is a plus. We’ve had far less vandalism or theft than any of our neighbors, and I believe it is because of our security systems and measures that make us an unattractive target.

    Ladies, on your person, in how you dress, take a look to see what you are inviting there also. If you are dressing like a woman for sale, then why would you expect to be approached and treated differently? If you are dressed in a dignified, covered way, you will more likely be treated like a lady and respected. I rarely go out that men of all ages (even teens) don’t open doors for me. Yet, I’m well covered. I wear long, denim or flowing skirts and shirts that do not show cleavage and have more than thin straps. Usually my shoulders are covered. I don’t wear much makeup, yet men smile at me and give me courtesy and I’m told that I’m beautiful. There is no doubt when glancing my direction about which restroom I belong in, as the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments tells us that men should not dress as women and vice versa. All throughout history in many cultures, it was customary for slaves to be stripped in front of potential buyers for their bodies to be examined and valued, while royalty was dressed in dignified manner in beautiful robes before the people. I choose to look like a royal “lady” rather than a “slave girl”. Now, hear me! I am not saying that if you are raped it is because of what you are wearing. Oh, no!! There is no justification for rape, ever! A woman, no matter what she is wearing, has the right to say “No!” to anything and be respected as meaning just that and for the man to stop whatever he is doing with her.

    As an aside, ladies, on the subject of dress, be sure you aren’t giving mixed signals and participating by being a stumbling block for mens’ wandering eyes and lustful hearts. I really believe this is critically important not just to your physical safety but spiritual walk and relationships. What I’m referencing here is generally a separate matter from assault and rape, which is most often not about lust but rather about anger, gang initiation, emotional instability, and/or desire for control. I’m talking about how we present ourselves to decent men, Christian men (our brothers). Even decent men get confused by the messages our culture sends out through many of the fashions. God gave men a special sensitivity through their eyes to be drawn to the opposite gender. We want them to be attracted to us but respectfully so. The greatest physical attraction, even a visual one, should be protected to be between a husband and wife rather than between a woman and many men. The clothes worn by many women today say to men that they are loose and ready for whatever, when that may not at all be what a woman intends and wants, yet she is following fashion trends. If the trends are of an immoral culture, do not follow them! In my younger years, I was a runway and photography fashion model many decades ago, yet I said “no” to some fashions and opportunities. My faith dictated it. I didn’t see this as a career but as a stepping stone to help pay for my college education and expenses. Through my strong convictions and strength to say “no”, I was able to be a witness to the other girls and even some big time beauty queens whose identities were wrapped up in their ability to manipulate people through their beauty. That isn’t godly! We are to be a holy people, set apart. We are not to do anything that would tempt men in the faith to stumble. Sure, it is ultimately their decision how they behave, but if you are tempting them then you are a co-conspirator and not respecting the struggle they endure to be holy men. Be aware of this.)

    Be sure to take a good look in the mirror and secure what you intend to secure by being consistent in your physical appearance. Do you dress for respect or are you inviting disrespect? A strong, confident, modestly-dressed woman looks like a bigger challenge to a criminal than a physically and emotionally weak, complacent one who is showing so much skin and/or form that she couldn’t possibly has any hidden weapons on her body. You can choose what kind of image you want to project and decide if you want to be an easy target for a criminal or not. It doesn’t guarantee your safety, but I want to apply every defense available to me and this is one I am sure has helped me in the past. I’ve seen the angry, crazed eyes of the man heading toward me and seen him turn away when I stared into his eyes and walked confidently while reaching into my purse. In my gut, I’ve known a number of times that something was about to happen and then didn’t. I thank God for the change in course, for whatever reason.

  • Never be/look alone. If you are going to the mall or into town shopping, try to take a friend, husband, or older child with you. If you have to drive a long ways to work, look for a carpool situation, if you can find several trustworthy companions with similar schedules. Having a second person will make you less desirable to a predator. If, however, you must go alone and you think there are untrustworthy people watching you leave your home, stand outside your car door and wave back to your house as if you are waving goodbye to someone you left inside. They won’t know it is unoccupied then. They may also think you have someone keeping close tabs on your whereabouts. Even if you don’t have someone on the phone or anyone checking up on you, if you think someone is watching you as you are walking in the parking lot then pretend to talk to someone on your cell phone until you get to your car and look that someone straight in the eye as if you are talking about them to whoever is on the phone. Have keys in hand with the cell phone ready to quickly get in the car and then lock those doors immediately and get out of there! Have the other hand on your concealed weapon inside your vest, on your hip, or in your purse, and ready to draw if need be. I’ve heard testimonies from violent criminals that lead me to believe that just having your hand in your purse (or on your hip) and your eyes on them alerts a would-be offender that you might be armed and ready to draw, and this may cause them to back down. It’s also a good idea to have someone who knows where you are and when you are supposed to arrive where you are going. I know of single women who call and check on each other every evening and have the phone numbers of each others’ neighbors and/or close family members in case they can’t reach their phone buddies when they have a scheduled check in. If something has happened, they will be missed and someone will be looking for them. You don’t want to be missing long without someone looking for you and contacting authorities.
  • Carry multiple weapons. Recently, the family was at a restaurant and I was laughing about making room for my purse between Hugh and me on the booth. He jokes that I carry everything but the kitchen sink and then reminds me that one time I actually carried a camp shower in it. (It’s really not that big.) However, I not only carry three ways to make fire in my purse and bandages, but I carry a way to make fire that propels a chunk of metal at high velocity, and I carry it in my purse all of the time! In my purse, I carry a subcompact pistol because of its lighter weight, but on my waist holster I carry a full size pistol. I keep a weapon that is ready to fire within reach during the night also. I own and shoot everything from the subcompact pistols up to the AR and other rifles. While I have multiple men in my household currently, I never know when some may be gone, the one with me is wounded, and I find that it is up to me to defend both of us. I need to be ready. I can’t rely on them to do all of the defending, and I suggest you don’t rely on your men to do it all either. I highly, highly recommend that every woman go through concealed carry training, purchase at least one pistol and a large supply of ammo, get a concealed carry (CC) license, and then carry.

    My purse is attractive with snake skin trim, exterior zippers, two large sections with pockets and internal zippered sections for personals, pens, lipsticks, cell phone, wallet, and a velcroed section between the two large compartment for my holstered pistol. No one has ever asked me if it was a CC purse, ever! I have had several people ask about my purse though, because it is pretty, functional, and sturdy. There are some CC purses that are ugly, and there are some that fall apart, and there are some that are beautiful and outrageously expensive. Go with good quality and then carry in it! In my purse, I also carry my Cold Steel JWR SurvivalBlog limited edition survival knife and a small Swiss Army knife also. If I’m working out on the property, I usually carry at least a large folder knife (and have my shepherd dog, of course). Sometimes, I wear a waist holster on my belt with my skirt. (I almost always wear long skirts rather than pants.) I have a custom thigh holster on order that I am anxious to try. I have tried them on, but I understand that wearing one long term is considerably different than short term wearing. We will see. I’ll let you know how it goes. Regardless of what weapon(s) you choose to carry, practice using it/them. You need to be very comfortable with your weapon and drawing it. Practice holding it, carrying it, and firing it. Get good at aiming and firing it under pressure, too, because if and when that day comes that we need to use our guns to defend our lives and possibly also the lives of those we love, we will be under a lot of stress.

  • Be prepared and willing to use weapons. Most of us, as mothers, are “momma bears” to some degree. Don’t threaten my child or you’ll see what fierce anger looks like. When one of our children was repeatedly bullied, we initially told our child to try to avoid it. That didn’t work, and I went to the adult in authority over the group of children. That adult didn’t take responsibility to do anything at all, even after the bullying escalated to assault. So this momma bear took action. It wasn’t pretty. My child was given authority and instruction to fight back and ultimately was removed from this adult’s (lack of) supervision when the situation continued. I was so angry! It was a righteous anger, too. Because my child was smart and dressed well, he was picked on, extorted, threatened, and punched. The adult in charge felt sorry for the underprivileged child who was doing the punching and insulting and so the adult turned a blind eye. Oh, no! That was unacceptable. That’s only one situation where I turned into a “momma bear”, and it is relatively mild compared to a few others. Now, I’m not one to think my children can do no wrong or that it is always someone else’s fault. They aren’t, and I don’t. I have high standards for my children and their behavior and readily take them to task when they misbehave. However, when there is a serious threat to my child’s life or that of my grandchild, that threat better step back!

    So, if someone is threatening the lives of you and your children, do you have what it takes to stop them? Again, having the ability to stop someone who is running at you with a deadly weapon is invaluable, because once a man (or woman) with greater strength reaches you it is difficult to get away and overcome them. However, you must have the mentality and determination to live and to protect yourself and your own if you are going to carry a weapon. You must be prepared to use that weapon, know how to use it, have practiced doing so, and have it available to use when that moment you hoped would never come actually comes. At that point, it’s too late to try to figure out how your weapon works. If your life is seriously in danger, you had better be ready to fight for your life with whatever tool you have. A rifle has the ability to get out further away than a pistol, but if that man is on top of you, you grab for anything you can and use it as a weapon, whether that’s a can of hair spray or a pencil.

    The LORD loves life. It is our obligation to protect it. If someone is assaulting you and threatening to take away your life, that person is the one who is violating the LORD, not you! How do you know that he will stop with you? He may rape and kill you and then go on to your daughter and son. It is up to you to defend your life with whatever resources are available to you. Make up your mind now whether you can do it, and then mentally and emotionally prepare to do it. When the threat to your lives comes, call upon the LORD to give you strength and then remember the training that you either already have or are going to get right away to stop evil from taking what the LORD has entrusted to you– your life and the lives of your family!

In the end, I use all of these tool, hoping to keep confrontations to a minimum and preferably prevented altogether. I pray and I pray for discernment and guidance. When I sense danger, I call upon the name of the LORD and ask for guidance in what to do. Then, I apply my training and trust Him with the outcome.

So, dear survival sister, be strong and courageous, but be a lady– one that commands respect and knows how and when to fight and shoot in support of life!