We often train with the sudden attack from a stranger in mind - the faceless, nameless "bad guy". But the reality is, most attacks come from someone we know.
Nobody wants to think about this, because it's extremely disturbing, but the numbers don't lie. Assuming you survive, the psychological damage caused by being assaulted by someone you know - maybe even someone you love - can be devastating.
Most often, there are warning signs that a person in our lives is a potential attacker, but we ignore them, because the thought is too painful to entertain. Nevertheless, if your partner, friend or co-worker exhibits some of the following traits you have reason to be concerned:
**If you feel you are or might be in danger - trust your gut! This might seem obvious, but many people have come to regret telling themselves, "I'm just being silly..."
**The person has used violence to control others in the past - especially if they blame the victim because "they deserved it".
**The person has used violence against animals.
**The person has a fascination with weapons, especially their use as a source of power.
**The person insists on knowing where you are at all times.
**The person destroys material things - particularly objects owned by the subject of their anger or defaces photographs of the person they're angry at.
This is just a brief list, the first ones that come to mind when I think back to the book Gift of Fear. I will say one thing: if a person has used violence against others in the past, but you think they'd never do that to you... I'm about to say something offensive: You're not special. A person who uses or has used violence to control or punish others feels justified in doing so, regardless of who they are hurting.
If you'd like to read the Statesman article, click here: